Hello,my name is Forrest Taylor and I am 14 year old.I had the opportunity to spend some time with SSG Chris Walker at Walter Reed right after he returned from Afghanistan with injuries including loss of both arms, loss of his left leg, injury to his eye and facial injuries. We are friends with Chris' mother and we wanted to do all we could to help.When I arrived at Walter Reed,i was not prepared for what I would see but I left there a changed person.People think us 14 year olds do not appreciate or think much about our military but what Chris has sacrificed for me and seeing all the other wounded warriors has taught me more of a history lesson than I could ever get in school. Chris spirit is unbreakable and he has not given up.He is now in the rehab department at Walter Reed at Bethesda but he has such a great sense of humor and he has not let his injuries slow him down.He inspires others and works so passionately to help others and when he is interviewed he always says, just because he was critically injured he cannot give up on life. He is determined to get better and walk out of Walter Reed with his prosthetic leg and he also does not want to get out of the military.Our hometown has rallied around him and we are doing benefits and fundraisers for him and his family as they take care of him.When I was there with Chris, watching him learning to feed himself again with no hands and watching him learn to do things that we all take for granted,it really gets to you. It makes you thankful for what you have and it brings to reality what we hear and see on the news. It is really hard when it hits home so close and you can see the devastation injuries our military people are suffering. I met a lot of wounded people while I was there and it changed me forever.I have a newer respect for the military and a broad respect for each and every person serving our country and those who have served in the past.When I spent time with Chris, his sense of humor gave me courage that I needed to make it through some hard times I was encountering (I had been bullied at school) and his sense of humor is contagious. He has taken his injuries that he sustained and is using them in a positive manner to first of all get better, but secondly to be a role model to others. We all complain every day about something whether it be a headache or not being allowed to do something we want to do, but none of us have the right to complain anymore after seeing what these soldiers and military folks go through. The therapy sessions that last hours at a time, the constant meetings, the living in cramped quarters while rehabitating, all makes one wonder how they manage to not go zonkers with what they are facing. When I was at Walter Reed I saw a family spirit amongst the injured and all of them wanted to tell their stories and this is waht changed me the most. As I walked down the hallway I would pass an injured warrior in his wheelchair and he or she would smile and wave to me (if they had hands) but if they didn't they would their stumps left of their arms. I saw so many soldiers with lost limbs I tried not to cry. My mom left there a changed person too and she is a nurse practitioner. What she tells everuybody is if you ever get the opportunity to viist a military hospital, then you need to do it. We all need to be thankful for what our service men and women are doing for us. Chris is my role model and my hero because in light of what injuries he has gotten from being in afghanistan, it did not change his spirit and we can all learn a lesson from him. We can all learn to be better people and not to take life for granted because it can be taken away in a minute. He has taught me that when things are tough, do not be a quitter, face them head on and deal with the cards life throws at you and he is the example of what all of us should be. An individual who has lost so much yet has complained never! not even when Chris was first injured did I ever hear him complain of his injuries and waht he had lost. He wants to focus on getting better and making his rehab successful so he can walk out of there and live a normal life plus he still wants to stay enlisted. I would love to give him a salute on air because people need to see what our soldiers are sacrificing for us! He is only 28, was planning to make the military his career, and he has lost so much at such an early age but he is not going to let him stop him from living his life. I want to salute him as my hero, I am just a teenager but he can be a role model for the nation as a whole. I would surely appreciate the opportunity tro do an on air salute to SSG Chris Walker from the US Army. I am going to upload some pictures of Chris but i would love to give a verbal salute to him if you all wanted to call and I could even have him be a part of the salute because he is willing to tell his stories to everyone. He is my role model because what you read in the histrory books or the newspaper does not do justice to what yhou can see with your eyes when a soldier is wounded and what theyh go through. His spirit for life and for giving back cannot be touched. He is a hero to many and definitely my role model. Thank you for considering my request to give him an on air salute. I am including pictures of Chris when he was first injured and then picdtures of him now, and I am also going to include pictrures of trhe gflasses he was wearing with the IED struck him, it was estrimated t be an IED of apprxoimately 60 pounds and the contents of the iED were meant to destroy our militaryu vehicle. The blast threw CHris 30 feet in the air. I hope u will give consideration to using my story. Thank you Forrest Taylor age 14 written with permission of my mom Kim Taylor who is 46 and has been helping out her friend who is Chris mother. You can call my mom if you need to since I am a minor but she told me to write this in my point of view and how it affected me. It definitely has affected me and taught me to not take each day for granted and my minor aches and pains are nothing compared to what our military people are suffering through each day.All of our military needs a salute! OnJune 16. 2012 our community had a big bike ride attended by over 200 bikers who rode 80 miles for Chris. Chris was able to be be flown on a privately owned donated jet to attend the festivities so I am including pictures of that too. It was a benefit and our local Congressman attended the event,Congressman Hurt and he gave a speech about Chris to start the ride. The bikers led the procession as the bikers left our hometown of Altavista and rode to Buchanan VA, an 80 mile ride, people lined the streets along the route saluting Chris and letting them know how they appreciated him. He has received outpouring from all over the world for support and I would love to see his story on HLN. He is a role model to all who meet him. The bike ride was a success and raised lots of money to help Chris as he recovers and the financial burdens he will face once he is discharged from Walter Reed . His sense of pride for his country, his willingness to still serve after he gets better, and his humility and attitude in dealing with the losses he has suffered are all inspirational. Our country all needs to be introduced to Staff Sargeant Chris Walker. Thank you. In the pictures you will see pictures of the glasses Chris was wearing when he was injured and pictures of Chris now and also pictures from the bike ride. Thank you.
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