Civilian worker wounded in Iraq honored at Fort Gordon

By: Tom Campbell Email
By: Tom Campbell Email

February 27, 2007

FORT GORDON, Ga.---An American contractor was among those killed in today's bomb blast at the US military headquarters in Afghanistan. That points up the dangers for civilians in war zones.

Today at Fort Gordon, a civilian from Augusta who was wounded in Iraq was honored by the Army.

"I love being here to help him celebrate back home, on the road to recovery, and to honor his service and sacrifice to our country," said BG Nick Justice of Augusta's John Grant, former soldier and current engineering company worker.

He was badly wounded when a suicide bomber blew up a dining area in Iraq over two years ago.

14 people died that day; others were wounded.

"I was just looking at the other people, hoping somebody helps them, when the doctor finally looked at me," John said. "That's when I realized I hope somebody helps me. He didn't have a very good poker face."

John's wife Linda is an Army captain, and lost friends that day. Another friend checked on her husband.

"He searched him from head to toe, and he called me from Iraq to let me know my husband would live," she said.

Linda and her mother have spent months nursing John back to health, and now he receives the Defense of Freedom medal that honors those killed or wounded on duty. It's the civilian equivalent of the Purple Heart.

"Thank God for letting me survive and see my son--my family," John said. "Thank my wife and my mother-in-law for all their support."

John faces more therapy for his wounds, but he's grateful to be alive and on the road to recovery.

You may be surprised to know that nearly 800 Department of Defense civilian workers have been killed in Iraq.

And like John, more than three thousand have been hurt.

They often work side-by-side with the troops and share many of the same risks.

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