A few weeks ago I discovered what makes a true "American Hero". This is about Sergeant Merlin German, a young man who graduated Woodland's High School with my sons, Keith and Ryan in June 2003. Voted Home Coming King, Merlin entered the Marine's soon after graduating. Within a year of joining the Marine Corps, he had the distinction of being the first Private First Class to ever attend the Machine Gunner's Course. In the first 6 months of his deployment, Sergeant German had remarkably found 8 IED (improvised explosive devises).
On February 21, 2005 Merlin's squad was on a mission from Jordan to Baghdad, when their Humvee was struck by a gas-fed explosive. He was blown clear of the vehicle, and when found had been burned over 97% of his total body. Given no chance of survival, he was transferred to an Army Medical Unit in San Antonio, Texas. With that 3% chance of survival, Merlin made it his motto - "Got 3% Chance of Living- What you gonna do?"
Sergeant German fought bravely for a little more than 3 years before he passed away on April 11, 2008. Instead of worrying about his own survival, he developed his dream during that time. It was a vision of starting a burn unit for children called "Merlin's Miracles". During this time
Sgt German never once lost his sense of humor; and what makes me even prouder was to see all his friends (many of whom I have known since they were very young) stand by him through his whole ordeal. Merlin even designed his own t-shirt which on the front was his "3% motto" and on the back lists his ideals, and then signed the shirt. The proceeds of his special shirt will go to help fund his dream "Merlin's Miracles". To me and all his classmates who showed up at his Memorial the other evening at their High School, he exemplifies a true American Hero.
His foundation can be found at www.merlinsmiracles.com