Former marine helped amputee patients after Boston bombings - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Former marine helped amputee patients after Boston bombings


REEDSBURG (WKOW)-- On Monday, it will mark three weeks since the bombings at the Boston Marathon. 

Two blasts rang out through the streets of Boston and instantly had the power to awaken fear in millions of Americans. For those who were there, so much more than a sense of security was taken away from them.

"They were very resilient. They were very strong," BJ Ganem says. "They had a lot of support."

Ganem was one of those people back home watching the news coverage who said to himself, how can I help? Days later he and several servicemen in the Semper Fi Fund were in Boston helping 14 victims who underwent amputations.

"This stuff is going to affect somebody for the rest of their life. You can't really put a band-aid on it. Even throwing a prosthetic on it is not going to just make it better," Ganem explains.

The long recovery after an amputation is something Ganem knows all too well. While serving in Iraq back in 2004 he lost his leg when an explosive hit his vehicle.

"I was rushed out of the scene. I had three shards of glass in my left eye, had shrapnel throughout the body and my left foot was severely damaged," Ganem says.

It was a long recovery including more than a dozen surgeries and a second amputation in 2010. Now that it's over his life has turned to others.

"Being able to see it and touch it and see someone living and doing it with the same injuries. When that's taken away it's really scary and that's what we wanted to do, just bring some comfort," Ganem says.

Letting the victims know they can still live an active life and still do the little things so many of us take for granted.

"Just to see the release of emotion on their face. They started crying. That was pretty powerful."

The Semper Fi Fund is planning a third trip to Boston. Many of it's members have created deep friendships with the victims in Boston by exchanging phone numbers and e-mail addresses so they can help them through each stage of their recovery.


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