A nationally-recognized author will visit Grayson County Sunday, Aug. 12, in a fundraising event for the Wounded Warrior Project.
Retired Master Sgt. Gordon Ewell will sign copies of his latest book, “A Lifetime at War,” from noon to 6 p.m. at American Legion Post 81 in Leitchfield. The books will be available at the Legion at a cost of $20, with all proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Ewell, a Utah native, joined the Utah National Guard in 1985. A combat engineer, he became an expert in improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, after his deployment to Iraq in December 2005. He became part of the first two-man teams whose mission was to find and destroy IEDs before they could harm American troops, convoys and Iraqi civillians.
He performed 59 of those missions — some with Leitchfield’s Jim Lish — and co-authored a first-of-its-kind Route Clearance manual used to train the IED locating teams.
While his work in Iraq saved countless lives, it permanently changed his. Six different times, vehicles he was in were hit by IEDs. One of the explosions was so powerful it blew Ewell’s impacted wisdom teeth out the side of his jaw. He also sustained broken neck vertebrae, spinal damage, hearing loss, the loss of one eye and damage to the other that left him legally blind, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and other medical problems.
Ewell returned from Iraq in December 2006, working in the personnel section of a military training facility until his medical retirement in February 2010.
Struggling with his PTSD, Ewell began writing poetry at a cathartic way to address his emotions. He eventually gathered those poems, as well as pieces he’d written before and during his deployment, into the book “Dung in my Foxhole.”
He continues to reach out to help other veterans. In addition to his work with the Wounded Warrior Project, Ewell volunteers at a V.A. hospital in Utah, is a member of the Blue Star Riders, the veterans of Foreign Wars, the Disabled American Veterans and the American Legion.
Founded in 2003, the Wounded Warrior Project began when several veterans and friends, moved by stories of the first wounded service members returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq, took action to help others in need. What started as a program to provide comfort items to wounded service members has grown into a complete rehabilitative effort to assist them as they recover and transition back to civilian life.
Lish said Ewell will use Leitchfield as a temporary base during a roughly week-long tour around Kentucky. In addition to his local appearance, he will be signing books at Fort Knox, Elizabethtown, Fort Campbell, Paducah, Frankfort, Bardstown and St. Mathews.
For more information, call (270) 200-0594 or email email@example.com.