Devastating injuries forced former Zion resident Cpl. Larry Bailey II to medically retire from the Marine Corps in 2013, but he would still rejoin his unit today if he could.
“I would,” said Bailey, a Purple Heart recipient and triple amputee. “I would deploy now if I could.”
An improvised explosive device exploded beneath Bailey while he was serving in Afghanistan in 2011, on “a day when we were kicking off a pretty big operation to make the Taliban … fight on our terms instead of their terms,” Bailey said.
One Marine was killed in the ambush. Bailey survived, but his legs were amputated below the knee and he lost his left hand.
Today, Bailey harbors no anger over the incident that forever changed his life.
The nonprofit: Midwest BBQ for the Brave
In 2012, Jim and Gayla Smith hosted a BBQ in their backyard to raise money for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. The Tunnel to Towers program “Building for America’s Bravest” builds custom homes for catastrophically disabled Veterans. Jim and Gayla asked for a $20 donation and raised $2000 the very first year. The BBQ continues to grow and has become an annual event. We have raised and donated thousands of dollars for our American heroes.
You can read more about the “Building for America’s Bravest” program here: www.ourbravest.org