Avery R's Blog ;)

Hope…

Tonight I learned a lot about hope, courage, perseverance, and getting over very rough things in your life. Tonight, at my brothers tennis academy ATA, a guy, Rick Yarosh came to speak to us. He is a retired soldier in the military who served in Iraq. He shared his whole story with us, and here it is.

So Rick decided to serve in the military in his early 20’s. The night before he went to Iraq, he had a talk with his sargent and everything. Sargent tried to explain what war was like, and the reality of war, and what may happen. It was a lot to take in, and Rick was not completely sure what he was getting into, but he still wanted to fight for his country.

The next morning, they started traveling to Iraq. Along the way, they stopped in Germany and met up with the German’s who were just coming home from Iraq. One main thing they told the American’s, including Rick was, when you are driving, no matter what you will hit IED’s. Those are bombs that are hidden under the ground, and when you drive over them they explode. Rick knew it may happen to him, and that was hard, but little did he know one really was going to harm him very soon.

In Iraq, they drove along this certain rode many times and hadn’t hit an IED yet. Rick was a gunner on one of the machines that they drove. They were driving on this road, and all of the sudden, they hit an IED, and it exploded. It hit the fuel tank with the fuel that was very flammable. Rick said he remembered hearing the boom, and in a split second he was covered in fuel, and in the next second he was covered in flames. He couldn’t see a thing, He was covered in head to toe with flames.

He knew he had to get out of the vehicle. The hood above him is normally closed, but this time it was open. He climbed out and knew he needed to jump and get off the vehicle. He was scared because he didn’t know where he was jumping, he couldn’t see. But he did eventually jump and he met the ground. He did break a leg in the process and messed up some other parts of his body too. He started rolling but he couldn’t put the flames out. Rick said he started to give up, but then he knew he couldn’t if he wanted to live. he didn’t loose hope. So he kept rolling, and thankfully he rolled into a canal, which put the fire out. The canal actually harmed him too, because he got a deadly fungus from the water, but it did stop the fire. His buddies came and got him and took him to a helicopter which would fly him to the hospital. The whole experience caused him to lose his ears, part of his nose, and he has no eyebrows or anything like that, and he also lost his leg and his hands don’t have a few fingers, and on the fingers he has, the tops are burnt off.

As you could imagine, this was devastating for Rick. And it was hard for him to. But he never lost hope. Tonight he told us, hope is the most important thing we have, and to never loose it for a second. He said everything was hard… He had to re-learn how to walk and use his hands, and wherever he went, people stared at him and tried to move away from him because of how he looked. And seeing what he looked like was one of the most horrific moments. But he learned to persevere, and take everything and make him stronger. He said he has never lost hope, and now he is the happiest he has ever been in his life, because he gets to inspire people, and give them hope too.

Rick Yarosh was truly an amazing person, and I felt very blessed to have been able to hear him speak, learn his story, and talk to him. It was one of the most inspiring moments of my life, and his courage has really made me have a new view point on life and how it should be lived. Thank you Rick for your service, you are truly a hero!

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