JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- If anyone deserves to go bold on a shirt, it's Tyler Southern.
A marine from Jacksonville, Tyler stepped on an IED buried under dirt last year in Afghanistan. The good thing is he does not remember the explosion, but the rough part is it left him a triple amputee.
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In fact, Tyler said he almost wound up a quad. Doctors wanted to remove the one remaining limb he had, but his parents insisted his one arm be saved.
Tyler said he's grateful for that.
And everyone around him is grateful for his sense of humor. He has a quick wit, a fast-thinking mind, and he uses that gift to put people at ease about his injuries.
Take his new shirt. Tyler said the shirt has a custom design which he and his Dad created.
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The front says, "Combat Wounded Marine -- Some Assembly Required."
The back says, "I HAD A BLAST IN AFGHANISTAN."
"There's no reason to piss and moan. I can't sew anything back on," Tyler said.
Humor and jokes are his way of coping with the challenges he now tackles every day.
He plans to use that spirit to help other wounded veterans. His goal is to stay in the Marines another 20 years as a motivational speaker.
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His fiancee, Ashley Statti, said she admires Tyler for his motivation to serve. It "takes a special person" to do what he did and "he still would go back," she said.
Tyler and Ashley plan to get married July 9 at a private ceremony on a dock in Mandarin.
First Coast News