Let’s Send Purple Heart Recipient Cpl. Aaron Mankin And Mrs. Mankin To Mexico
Gunny Bob and Cpl. Aaron Mankin. (Photo courtesy of Winston Getz.)
This is a story that will warm your heart, catch your breath in shock, smile, and cry, all at the same time.
The Gunny had the pleasure and honor of again being the Master of Ceremonies at the Marine Parents National Conference in Washington, D.C., from 18-20 April 2008. Among the guest was Cpl. Aaron Mankin.
While serving as a Marine combat correspondent in Iraq, then Lance Corporal Mankin found himself one day in the heat of battle, riding in an assault vehicle and doing his job as the grunts fought, which was to record and write about the war. He was standing up in the open-topped vehicle as the battle raged when a massive improvised explosive device (IED) detonated right beside his vehicle. The blast sent the 26-ton vehicle and 16 Marines inside 10 feet into the air.
Six Marines were killed instantly. In the thick, black smoke of the totally destroyed “trac,” Cpl. Mankin knew he was badly wounded: he could see the flames covering his body and feel the searing heat as his skin melted from his face, neck, arms, chest and back. Hurling himself out of the wreckage, he landed on the dirt and began rolling to try to put the flames out, but they would not go out. He rolled and rolled and rolled, all the while thinking he was about to die. His final thoughts that day were of hearing his brother Marines from other vehicles shouting “Put him out! Put him out!”
As the blackness enveloped the young, perpetually happy, outgoing Marine, God checked his master plan. Turning to the chapter on Cpl. Mankin, he read that the Marine’s life was incomplete, that the Marine journalist had more work to do and things to accomplish, and that he was scheduled in the master plan to raise a family.
God brushed the darkness away and switched on the light.
Cpl. Mankin opened his eyes so see his mother. He was in a special hospital that specializes in massive burn injuries, and Cpl. Mankin had those. His face was criss-crossed with scars. His throat was burned away so he had a breathing tube. The skin on his arms had melted away and his right hand was almost unrecognizable. His ears were almost gone, leaving a hole in each side of his head. His nose was a charred lump of remnant flesh.
In the many months and seemingly countless surgeries that followed (he has many more to go, too), hideous pain would be Cpl. Mankin’s constant companion. That pain is physical as well as mental, and he knows that when people see him for the first time, they are stunned. Some gasp. Some cry. Some pray. Some look away. But Cpl. Mankin doesn’t feel sorry for himself. He decided one day in the hospital that he would never feel sorry for himself, and no matter of how much pain he was in and how tired he was, he would press on, because that’s what Marines do.
Cpl. Mankin is married and he and his wife have one daughter (15 months old) and another child on the way. Because his wife was also a Marine when they got married, they never got a honeymoon.
THEY NEVER GOT A HONEYMOON.
This is where we come in.
As the Gunny learned of this and got to know Cpl. Mankin at the conference, he knew right then and there what his audience would want to do: send Cpl. Mankin and his wife on the honeymoon they never had. The Gunny found out that Mrs. Mankin loves the beach, as does Cpl. Mankin.
You, the Gunny and Marine Parents (www.marineparents.com) are going to send Cpl. and Mrs. Mankin on an all-expense-paid first-class honeymoon to sunny, warm Cancun, where this deeply in love and dedicated to each other couple will bask on the beach, eat great food, soak up the sun, sleep late, and otherwise do what honeymooning couples do.
Here’s how you can donate (on line, via phone, and via check by snail mail), and all donations are tax deductible because Marine Parents is a 501 (3)(c) charitable organization:
Go to https://marineparentsinc.com/donation.asp and at Step 1, select “Purple Heart Family Support.”
At Step 2, type in the amount you would like to donate; there is no minimum or maximum. Please give as generously as possible.
At Step 3, select “In Honor of” and then write in the space provided: “Cpl. Aaron Mankin/Operation Cancun Honeymoon”
Step 4: Fill out all the info there and then click “Submit Information” and continue as need be.
To donate by phone or snail mail (make sure you tell them all funds are to go to Gunny Bob’s Operation “Cancun Honeymoon” for Cpl. Aaron Mankin and his wife:
If you want to send a check:
(1) Make it payable to MarineParents.com, Inc.
(2) Write Operation “Cancun Honeymoon” on the memo line
(3) Mail it to Gunny Bob Newman, 850 KOA, Clear Channel, Inc., 4695 S. Monaco St., Denver CO 80237
Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Gang, this is a BIG one. We need to make this happen. The Gunny is personally asking you for this favor. We need a lot of money to send these two American patriots on the honeymoon they never got, which they never got because they were busy serving their country and keeping us safer.
The Gunny will owe you forever if you help him send the Mankins on their Cancun honeymoon.