Mission: Andrew Love

Tuesday June 5th was a significant milestone for USMC Corporal Andrew Love. He walked 100 yards without a walker. The last time I saw him (about three weeks ago) was at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center where he was struggling to walk WITH a walker. The 100 yards he walked on Tuesday was through a gauntlet of American flags held high by Patriot Guard Riders and a crowd of hundreds of well wishers who had gathered to welcome home this young Marine. His arrival to a hero’s welcome in a corporate aircraft was the direct result of the generosity Tri-State Drilling and their chief pilot, Mike Wiskus.

There’s more to the story of Drew’s recovery than meets the eye. When his Humvee was blown up by an IED last October, it didn’t look as though Drew would survive. His pulse was not discernable and he appeared to have stopped breathing several times before being medivaced to a surgical unit. After nearly a month in a coma, Drew began to show signs of life. He was shipped to the VA Poly Trauma Center in Minneapolis where they specialize in brain injuries. At the same time, he began to recover from having broken nearly every bone in the right side of his body.

After a long and arduous recovery from the multitude of injuries, it appeared that Drew had reached a plateau about a month ago. The VA began making preparations to send him to an extended care facility in his home state when we got a call from his father asking if it would be possible for members of his unit to be flown to Minneapolis for a visit. Knowing the value of reconnecting wounded warriors with their buddies, we did everything possible to accommodate this trip.

We found several volunteers to bring two lifts of friends from Saginaw, MI to Minneapolis to encourage Drew in his recovery. We had no idea of the full impact that this would have on his recuperation. All involved were delighted to meet and fly Drew’s platoon mates. Not only did he get to see his platoon Sgt. and best buddies, he also got to see and spend time with the medic who was credited with saving his life (the blast killed three other Marines).

These guys were intent on breaking Drew out of the hospital for an evening’s R&R to cheer him up and encourage him to keep on. They succeeded.

Three weeks later, when we flew Drew and his family home for the final time, he WALKED to the airplane under his own power and from the plane to the terminal upon arrival to the amazement of those who had seen his recovery slow to a crawl only weeks before.

This is why we do what we do!

Saginaw Channel 12 News did a great story on Drew's homecoming, and you will find the link under News Stories (Wounded Marine Returns Home).


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