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Orange Park Marine Loses Both Legs, Shatters Pelvis in Afghanistan Landmine

11:12 PM, Jan 2, 2011   |    comments
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  • Courtesy: Elizabeth Howard, Family Friend
  • Courtesy: Elizabeth Howard, Family Friend
  • Courtesy: Elizabeth Howard, Family Friend
  • Courtesy: Elizabeth Howard, Family Friend
  • Courtesy: Elizabeth Howard, Family Friend
  • Courtesy: Elizabeth Howard, Family Friend
    

ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- A Clay County Marine is back in the United States after suffering severe, crippling injuries last week while serving in Afghanistan as a bomb disposal technician.

The family of 29-year-old Gunnery Sgt. John Hayes said he stepped on a landmine last week, which destroyed both of his legs, shattered his pelvis and caused colon damage.

Hayes family said he was hospitalized in Germany, and was admitted to National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland Sunday evening. His father, Bob Hayes said he was reunited with his wife, Janel, also a Clay County native, and three young daughters.

His family thinks this once active man will need to be hospitalized for at least one year.

Father Bob Hayes of Orange Park spoke to First Coast News saying "If there was ever a picture perfect Marine, that would be John Hayes."

Mother Alice Thompson released a statement to First Coast News which detailed Sgt. Hayes condition. "(Doctors) amputated one leg above the knee and another around the hip. He has colon damage. He is lucky to be alive. He faces a lot of surgeries, but he is doing as well as can be expected. We appreciate everyone's prayers and support in this difficult time."

Bob Hayes also said his son suffered a broken hand, but that there were no shrapnel injuries.

Sgt. Hayes is surrounded by his family at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland now.

The family said wife Janel, his high school sweetheart, and three young daughters, rushed back to the United States from a base in Okinawa, Japan where they were living.

"He loves life. Even though he has the loss of his legs, its not going to slow him down," said Bob Hayes.

The Hayes family hopes others on the First Coast will keep not only their son in their prayers, but other servicemen and women too.

"I want people to be aware that we got our kids over there fighting for our freedom," said Bob Hayes with a pause in his voice. "And they are paying a big price."

The Jacksonville-based Wounded Warrior Project is delivering Gunnery Sergeant Hayes a backpack.

It is filled with clothes, calling cards, toiletries, playing cards, a CD player and other essentials you would need when going to a hospital suddenly.

The spokesperson said it is delivered to all wounded service members when they arrive back in the U.S.

Click here for a Facebook page set up by family friend Elizabeth Howard, which has updates on Hayes' condition.

Click here for more information on a fundraiser for the Hayes family.

Donations can also be made through VyStar account # is 702853402 via Sgt. John K. Hayes.

First Coast News

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