VENADO MACHO" WOUNDED HERO
for the 2018-2019 SEASON
Justin Ellis is the kind of man that doesn't like to talk about what he has accomplished, what he did or what he went through. His wife Stephanie though felt his story needed to be told or it would be lost. Her words are written below about her husband, Justin.
I know I have already lost part of my husband and I know that his sacrifices should not be forgotten nor the sacrifices of any of our troops.
May 6, 2007, was the day I lost part of him and will never get that part of him back. To say he has changed is an understatement. I always wanted to ask exactly what happened, but I know just listening is better, he shuts down when I ask. Over the years, I have heard what I think is a partial story.
It was right at nightfall, he and two of his boys were in a 5 ton truck when they went over a remote detonated IED. Justin never lost consciousness but the others did. Justin pulled his 2 boys out while the truck was burning and moved to safety. Then engaged in a firefight he was shot, but thank God, his Kevlar worked. Justin soon realized that shrapnel went through the arch of his right foot and blew out the top of his foot. Justin was medically evacuated while the 2 others stayed in country and were not injured. Justin arrived at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio on May 15th. His family and I were notified that he may lose his foot. When the ER doctor took off his soft cast he quickly closed it back. He had a hole bigger than my fist and his foot was just hanging on. Still to this day I have no idea how he was able to pull those soldiers out and get to safety. Justin had an open wound for 9 days but his doctor amazingly saved his foot. While making his rounds the doctor would find Justin doing pull-ups on the bar that held his foot up or walking the hallways, Yes walking!! After going through several surgeries that included a bone graph, skin graph, pins and screws, he was supposed to be in a wheelchair!!
The doctor told Justin to stop or it wouldn't heal right, but he never did stop. After falling twice and doing x-rays the doctor decided to put him in a cast. I was asking why a cast with an open wound, wouldn't it get infected. The doctor said, since your husband is so Stubborn we will put it on every morning and off every night. Maybe then he'll realize that it has to heal. He asked if Justin was always this motivated. My answer was unequivocally YES!!
He was ready to go back and I couldn't understand why? His Army career adviser asked Justin what he wanted to do. His response was, "The same damn thing I was doing." The adviser stated, You can no longer be Airborne because of your injuries. Justin said, I have seen guys with worse injuries still be Airborne. Then the man said that if he had lost his foot then it was just a matter of replacing the prosthesis, but he still had his foot and it was a high risk and the Army would not take the risk. He even ask the doctor to take the foot but the doctor said, no he had worked to hard to keep it. He ended up with a horrible infection that also threatened him with losing his foot again. He was an inpatient for a month. We had to move from Topeka, KS to San Antonio because he remained an outpatient for a year. Like many other soldiers, he had appointments consisting of Orthopedics, Traumatic Brain Injury, Infectious Disease, for the infection, PTSD, PT and so on.
After recovering from his external injuries, Justin was Medically Retired from the Army.
He was devastated, but that didn't stop him. He went to Texas A&M and received his certificate to be an Unexploded Ordinance Disposal Bomb Technician. He was going to be as close to what he had been in the Army as a civilian could.
Justin was awarded a Silver Star, Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his actions in combat. Although I will never know exactly what happened or what he did to earn his Silver and Bronze stars, I know he did one hell of a job.
The following was written exactly a year from the accident from Captain Edward Pluciennik.
Sgt. Ellis, you are among the finest, most dedicated NCO's I have ever had the honor to serve with. Your proficiency and dedication to your fellow man speak volumes to the content of your character. You have set a standard to which all Soldiers should strive. While you have moved on from the Army and in civilian life, I know that you will continue to serve as a model for our society. As a veteran of multiple combat tours, wounded in action, you have given tremendously. Your contributions to your nation will leave a legacy for generations to come.
Like many wounded warriors a part of Justin will always be there and if you ask him he would do it all over again.
The war is not over, he and many others fight it each and every day here at home. GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS.
From a Proud Wife of a United States Soldier!!!
Justin's wounded foot has since caused him to have an
above the knee amputation. He refuses to get knocked down and is still going strong.