When they saw each other they first smiled, then grabbed and held each other in a tight hug. One was a wounded Marine without legs sitting in a wheelchair, while the other was the Navy Corpsman who saved the Marine’s life after he stepped on an IED some 18 months ago on a hilltop in the mountains of Afghanistan.
On that day 18 months ago, Navy Corpsman Micah Ambrose ran up the hill to the bleeding Marine CPL Marcus Dandrea, who was seriously injured by a blast that took his legs (A Navy Corpsman is an enlisted member of the U.S. Navy Medical Corps).
Ambrose quickly went to work to save the Dandrea, stabilizing the conscious man, holding his hand to comfort him while they waited for more than an hour to be rescued by helicopter from the mountaintop.
The two greeted each other at a firehouse in Lynbrook during the Lynbrook Fire Department’s second annual block party and Community Concert for the Troops to help raise funds for Nassau County Firefighters Operation Wounded Warrior. (The NCFF-OWW, which was formed some eight years ago, raises funds to buy Christmas gifts and other need items for wounded warriors receiving treatment at Walter Reed National Medical Center at Bethesda, MD, as well as those in rehabilitation at Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Presently, Lynbrook is one of 42 fire departments in Nassau County actively involved in Operation Wounded Warrior.)
Dandrea, his wife Victoria, who is also an active-duty Marine, and the youngest of their three children, Micah, came to spend the weekend in Lynbrook, thanks to the efforts of Lynbrook firefighters. The family was transported from Walter Reed to Lynbrook by the generous volunteers from the Disabled American Veterans organization, also headquartered in Lynbrook.
When they arrived into Lynbrook that day they were met by an American flag arch by the Lynbrook Fire Department’s two ladder trucks at the entrance to Lynbrook at Sunrise Highway and Horton Avenue. Lynbrook fire trucks then escorted the bus carrying the family to the Holiday Inn Express on Sunrise Highway.