U.S. Military Helped Sgt. Gutierrez
On June 18, 2006, Sgt. Joshua Gutierrez of the 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Hood, Texas, was on patrol near Osut, Iraq, searching for missing U.S. Soldiers.
"At first, we went into the city and did a peaceful door knock, asking the people there if they'd seen our personnel," said Sgt. Gutierrez in a telephone interview from the Naval Medical Center San Diego.
Around midnight, in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, Gutierrez unknowingly drove over a bomb, it exploded, and his Bradley caught fire. "I was unconscious about twenty seconds," he said. "The guys in the cargo area got out. After I came to my senses, I tried getting out too, but my leg was already pretty much amputated. There was so much going on. My gunner pulled me out, and they got me away before the ammo and fuel blew (everything) up."
Doctors completed the below-the-knee amputation of his right leg, he had a mild traumatic brain injury, and he had three broken bones in his left leg. In succession, he needed medical care in Iraq, Germany, Texas, and San Diego.
He spoke highly of the military support received. Three weeks in, military peers with similar injuries visited to talk over his situation and help him heal the emotional scars. "And at first I didn't want to go to a support group," he said. "Then I went willingly. It was helpful and allowed me to express how I felt about what I had gone through and to relate to others, because I wasn't the only one."
After about three months, he learned to ignore his occasional phantom leg pain. Presently at Naval Medical Center San Diego, Gutierrez said, "Up until now I can't say there has been a hard part. [The military] has been so good to me. There's so much for me to do here and they have so many programs and support groups."
Remembering the peers helping him initially, Gutierrez signed up to be a peer counselor himself. After taking classes and learning listening skills, to date he has helped a soldier, three marines, and an airman. Also, he can do things now he once thought impossible: ski, surf, hike, and run.
"You won't hear none of that (in the news media)," he said. "You only hear bad things. You won't hear how we're taking care of our military."
Sponsored by Blue Valley Sod.
Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.
Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com
Placer County News HeadlinesCampgrounds Open Along Middle Fork of American RiverAUBURN, Calif. - With the arrival of Memorial Day weekend, the United States Forest Service has announced the opening of campgrounds at French Meadows and Hell Hole Reservoirs
Roseville Flash Crime Report (5.26.17)Roseville, CA- Summary digest of Roseville Police selected activity log covering the period of May 19- 26, 2017.
2017 Acura MDX: classy and versatileRoseville, CA- Now in its eighth year of production by Honda's luxury division, the 2017 Acura MDX is a midsize luxury crossover SUV that is appealing for a variety of reasons.
2017 PlacerArts Summer Concert SeriesAuburn, CA- The annual and free Auburn Summer Concert Series returns for another season beginning June 11, 2017
Affordable Housing Fee Workshops in Auburn and Kings BeachAUBURN, Calif. -- Placer County has scheduled two housing fee study workshops in June, one in Kings Beach and another in Auburn
USA Fastpitch Competition in South Placer County this JuneRocklin, CA --USA Fastpitch is coming to Roseville, Lincoln and Rocklin June 2-4 for three days of softball competition.
City of Roseville's $507 Million Proposed Operating BudgetRoseville, CA- The City of Roseville's proposed operating budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 is available for review
San Juan Water District Receives Excellence in Financial Reporting AwardGranite Bay, Calif. - The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada awarded the San Juan Water District
Sports Stars Join Rocklin Golf Fundraiser at Whitney OaksHall of Famer Willie Brown, Jim Plunkett, Daryle Lamonica, Charles Woodson, Phil Villapiano, Rod Martin and several more Oakland Raiders headline a dazzling field
Silversun Pickups Summer Tour with Third Eye BlindFollowing their upcoming BottleRock Napa Valley performance, this summer, Silversun Pickups will embark on a 30-date amphitheater tour opening for Third Eye Blind. The "Summer Gods" Tour celebrates Third Eye Blind's 20th anniversary
Garland Ranch Regional Park: Tranquility in Monterey CountyCarmel Valley, California - The "granddaddy" of the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District, Garland Ranch is a fine elder statesman of parks.
Roseville Firefighters Union Blast City's Proposed Staffing CutsRoseville, Calif. - With rising temperatures and fire season upon us, city leaders in Roseville have proposed drastic staffing cuts to the Roseville Fire Department