Airmen hike Trail to Recovery - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Airmen hike Trail to Recovery

July 11, 2006

Valdosta - 2,500 American troops have been killed in the war in Iraq.  Another 19,000 injured and the road to recovery is hard.

Every day we hear about the battles soldiers face while in Iraq.  We don't hear the silent battle soldiers struggle with after being injured in the War on Terror.  Two former Moody Airmen are dedicating four months of their lives to raise awareness and money for this cause.

Three years ago Moody Airman Craig Fitzgerald was shot twice in the line of duty while serving in Iraq.  "I've been injured overseas and had 11 surgeries and 3 years of rehab," said Fitzgerald.

The challenge of beginning a new chapter in life after being injured in the war inspired Craig to give back to those soldiers who are now lying in the same bed he was just a few years ago.  "I said I wanted to do something to try to help them because when I was trying to recover, people were there for me and now I want to try and help them," Fitzgerald added.

While recovering from his last surgery Craig and fellow Moody airman David Wilcoxen came up with the Trail to Recovery.  They will hike the Appalachian Trail from Maine back to Georgia.

To these airmen, this difficult two thousand two hundred mile path symbolizes the long hard road these veterans must face once being injured in Iraq.   "I have injuries, I have limited use of my right hand. I can't do a lot of things I use to be able to do but one thing I walk away from those three years is that I really have it easy. I was in the hospital with people who have no legs, one arm. 18/19 years old and they're looking at the rest of their lives wondering what I am I going to do next," Fitzgerald said. 

They joined forces with the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes and have been raising money for their cause ever since.  "Our goal right now is $100,000  we're trying to raise. We are currently only at $15,000."

The airmen will begin their hike Sunday July 16th and hope to be back in Georgia in November. They will be taking donations throughout their hike.

To view their progress or donate you can visit their website


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