Nickolas Edinger, US Army
A quiet moment will pass on Friday, almost without notice. But it will be a momentous occasions in the life of one American hero, and it merits attention.
On Friday, an Army wounded warrior officially becomes a veteran.
His name is Nick Edinger. A native of Medford, Oregon, Nick joined the Army in 2008, eventually being assigned to Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team of the famed 82nd Airborn Division.
In September of 2009 he was deployed to the Arghendab River Valley in Afghanistan. Nine months later, while on a rescue mission, he was hit by an improvised explosive device, and his left leg was destroyed.
For the next year he underwent painful surgeries and rehabilitation, and learned to walk with a prosthetic leg.
A year later he joined the Wyakin Warrior Foundation as one of its first five members – one of the Pathfinders – and began attending classes at Boise State University. He is just now completing his second semester and plans to become a nurse to give back.
In his words, “You don’t go through what we go through in the military – injured people in the military – and not feel like you want to give back to those guys, because you turn around after going through this long ordeal that was just so taxing, and you see somebody else who is having to suffer through it; and you (say to yourself) I had people that helped me, and it’s not right if he doesn’t. So I should do something about that.”
In the nine months I have known Nick, I have never heard him complain.
Or feel sorry for himself.
Instead, he has made a personal commitment to improve, and learn, and one day give back.
I am twice his age, but he – and his fellow Wyakin Warriors – make me feel like a child.
What he doesn’t realize is that he is about to join the vast and loyal network of veterans who – no matter where he goes – will always be his brothers and sisters in arms.
Nick, congratulations on your retirement, and thank you for your service.