08 January, 2007

JR Salzman

Even though he's a Valour-IT recipient, I haven't written about JR Salzman yet because his name was held up by some of the biggest blogs out there and I felt just linking to his blog from my humble abode wasn't going to add anything. But let's make sure JR doesn't slip off our radar screens now. Andi of Andi's World visited him yesterday and points out that he and Jossie (his wife) need as much love and support as we can give them. She says he "lights up" when he talks about the comments and attention he's received from the blogosphere so far, that it means more than he can describe.

Some of you may recall the long and difficult road Chuck and Carren have traveled; JR and his wife probably face an even more challenging recovery, since JR has completely lost a hand (rather than having partial use as Chuck does). It's going to involve a lot of psychological adjustment and physical retraining.

As Chuck and any other recovering wounded warrior will tell you, it's all about the mind--spirit and attitude have a tremendous impact on the rate and extent of recovery. JR has been amazing so far--despite whatever may be going on behind the scenes, he's been trying to focus on the positive and keep his fighting spirit. But the wounds of amputation are almost as severe to the spirit as to the body. Just like any other severely wounded person, he's going to have to move though some very dark times during his recovery, times when the love and support of others can provide the edge he needs to keep fighting for his future.

So, please don't forget about JR. His blog provides the perfect easy avenue for you to have a powerful impact through your supportive words. Put him in your favorites/bookmark list and drop by regularly to let him know you're thinking of him and Jossie, offer any other help you're in a position to give, and make sure they know that they are appreciated and remembered even when he's no longer on the frontlines. You don't have to be eloquent or long. Just a simple, "I'm praying for you and your family," or "You've been heavy on my heart," or a congrats when he reports progress lets them know they're not forgotten and can give JR the boost to keep going in the tougher times.

JR and Jossie have given us years of their service; it's only right that we give them our hearts and at least a couple minutes of our time...

P.S.: If you would like to better understand what amputees like JR are going through (and thus how you might best support them), I can't recommend a better civilian resource than Blood Brothers: Among the Soldiers of Ward 57 by Michael Weisskopf. [For the record, I get nothing for recommending the book; I just think it's a superb book for anyone working with or supporting amputees.]

Update: Over at Andi's, JR's mother has provided his address:

JR Salzman
Walter Reed Hospital
Ward 57 Room 5741
6900 George Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20307