Image courtesy: Pfc. David Hauk, U.S. Army. Kandahar, Afghanistan, November 12, 2009

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Courage to Live

Image courtesy: Vogt family

When The Unknown Soldiers last posted an update on wounded Army 1st Lt. Nick Vogt, the situation was dire. The Army Ranger, who lost his legs in Afghanistan on Nov. 12, 2011, had barely survived a recent surgery to repair one of his lungs.

Today, while the situation is still very serious, 1st Lt. Vogt is out of the intensive care unit, according to his family's Facebook page.

"Nick proudly wheeled himself out of ICU and headed for the long hallway and elevator that took us up to (the fourth floor)," the soldier's mother, Sheila Vogt, posted on Friday, Mar. 9. "Even though it was hard to say good-bye to so many, everyone agreed that they only want to see Nick again as a visitor (and not a patient)."

The entire Vogt family, including the wounded 24-year-old Ranger, are infinitely thankful to the doctors who saved the double amputee's life.

"We've gotten to know many of them very well, and we are indebted to them for the amazing medical care they've given to Nick," the mother posted on Mar. 8. "Thank you, everyone, in ICU. God bless you all."

The Vogt family is going through an ordeal that few of us can imagine. While we all hope and pray the worst is over, this story cannot fade from our hearts and minds as time passes.

Many wounded combat veterans like Nick, as well as their families and caregivers, expend an almost impossible amount of physical and emotional energy on a daily basis. They deserve our constant support, awareness, and prayers.

"It has been 2 1/2 days of breathing on his own," Nick's father posted on Mar. 7. "This is a big deal."

First Lt. Nick Vogt put a promising career in medicine on hold after graduating from West Point to care for others on the battlefield. By all accounts, he wanted to go to Afghanistan and truly make a difference. He did.

Starting today, let us follow this wounded warrior's example. If we treat every breath as a big deal, perhaps we can make a difference too.

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