BAKER CO., GA (WALB) - WALB and Montlick and Associates would like to recognize the Heroes Among Us.
Each month, we will spotlight an active duty man or woman, a veteran, or a fallen hero whose service for our country goes beyond the battleground.
Clarence Eady served 24 years in the military: in the army and in the National Guard.
Clarence was injured while serving in Iraq in 2005, and returned home a changed man.
But he refuses to let his disability control his life.
Here's why Clarence Eady is a Hero Among Us.
"I farm a little corn, I got a few cows, goats, and peanuts," explained Eady.
But maintaining this farm isn't just a job for Eady.
One Baker County farm is a symbol of Eady's childhood.
It's the driving force that's gotten him to where he is today.
He grew up on the farm as a young boy with big dreams.
"I wanted to do something different and something fulfilling that I could better myself, provide a future for myself, and that was one of the main reasons why I decided to go into the military," he said.
In 1982, right out of high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army.
"I went to the recruiting station just to get an idea of what was available," said Eady. "Low and behold, they sent me to boot camp. And I said, 'Oh my goodness, what have I gotten myself into?'"
Fast forward several years later, after serving in Germany and Korea, and marrying his wife Kay, he joined the National Guard.
He was called to active duty for the Iraq War in 2005.
"I was assigned to a maintenance company," said Eady. "I was in charge of a maintenance recovery team. And in that recovery team, I was responsible for pulling all of the equipment back in that was blown up."
But one particular operation changed his life forever.
His team was assigned to go into a village to retrieve a piece of equipment used to look for mines.
But this mission didn't end as planned.
"So I went on out, and we crossed this little bridge, and I heard something go boom," Eady said. "It knocked me unconscious for a few seconds, and then I woke up and my driver said, 'We've been hit! We've been hit!' I said, 'Yeah we've been hit. I can't feel my legs.'"
An IED hit the driver's side of his military service vehicle, with Eady in the driver's seat.
"I thought, it was just a dream," he said. "I would wake up and everything would be back to normal. But I never woke up from that dream. It was reality."
It was a new reality for Eady.
One that involved him having to learn how to walk again, after losing his left leg below the knee and suffering multiple fractures on his right leg.
But for this military man, giving up was not an option.
With love from his family and a strong faith in God, he overcame the physical and mental hardships.
"If you can wrap your mind around it and accept it, then you can just about make your body do whatever it needs to do to accomplish any mission you decide," said Eady.
Whether it's serving on the deacon board at his church or tending to the 100 plus acres of land he has, he reminds himself how far he's come, despite his battle wounds.
And for any disabled vets in doubt of reaching your goals, Eady has a message for you.
"You can accomplish it," said Eady. "Even though you have disabilities, I have disabilities, but I try not to let that disability control my life. I want to be in control. I just thank God I'm still here."
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