Ezra Maes was just 21 startled awake when he realized something in the tank was very wrong. The vehicle was hurtling downhill, pushing 90 miles an hour. He yelled to one of his crew members to hit the brakes, but for some reason there was nothing he could do, and the tank was out of control. Though they tried their emergency brake procedure it was clear that there was nothing that they could do. When the tank finally hit an embankment, Maes was thrown into the the gears of the heavy machinery.
Maes was stuck. The two others in the tank, Victor Alamo, who was driving and Sgt. Aechere Crump, the gunner, were thrown around pretty badly as well. Alamo’s head went through the driver’s hatch and caused him to break his back, while Crump was ruptured her femoral artery and was bleeding out badly. Maes was stuck in the turrent gear and realized that he was the one who needed to get help. Though, as he started twisting and turning to free his leg, he felt a tearing and sensation and as he pulled himself out realized that his leg was completely gone.
“I pushed and I pulled at my leg as hard as I could to get loose and felt a sharp tear.I thought I had dislodged my leg, but when I moved away, my leg was completely gone.”
He knew that if they wanted to get out, he needed to act, and fast. He forced himself to the back of the tank to get a med kit, his only thought being the safety of his crew. Maes took a tourniquet from the kit and got to work bandaging himself up. Shortly after, the crew realized that the tank’s communication systems had been destroyed. Maes managed to get a hold of the only working cell-phone to call for help. The crew was then rushed to the hospital, something Maes barely remembers.
Unfortunately doctors were unable to save the leg, but Maes’s positive outlook on life isn’t letting that slow him down. He agrees that he’s very lucky, and things could have gone very differently. Him and his crew are on the mend, and Mae’s is looking at getting a prosthesis fro his missing leg. After going through therapy and rehab, he has come to the realization that helping others recover from serious injury and trauma is something that he wants to pursue. After everything he has been through, obviously this hero can do anything he puts his mind to.
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