Jones’ grandson, Pfc. Corey Garmon, 24, of Boaz, was in a hospital bed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. On July 11, Garmon, a soldier with the Army’s 87th Cavalry, stepped on a roadside bomb in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The explosion blew off his leg. A few days later doctors had to remove his other leg.
But the dirt in his hair was untouched.
“There was a lot of sand and dust,” Jones said Friday from his home in Rabbittown. “They really didn’t do a good job cleaning him up.”
Jones returned to his home from Maryland on Thursday, but his wife, Martha, and daughter and Corey’s mother, Lori Garmon, are still at his grandson’s bedside as doctors are working to make sure they also don’t have to amputate his left arm from the extensive nerve damage he received in the explosion. It’s been a trying three weeks for the family, but Jones said through it all, Garmon has been in high spirits.
“It’s great to know how strong he is,” Jones said. “He’s in a lot of pain, but I never saw him break down emotionally.”
Garmon had been in Afghanistan since December and in active military service for 16 months, but according to his mother, he had been a solider in his mind his whole life.
“He and his brother Kyle were just two and a half years apart and growing up they would love to role-play,” said Lori Garmon, a White Plains High School and Jacksonville State University graduate. “The one in particular he liked to play was a soldier.”
Lori said, as his mother, she was always concerned with her son’s dangerous job, but wanted Corey to make the decisions he felt were right.
“I always knew Corey was in greater hands then mine,” Lori said. “I knew God would watch over him.”
Now she’s putting her trust into the doctors and surgeons attempting to save Corey’s left arm. Right now, the limb is stitched to his stomach which doctors are hoping will encourage skin growth.
But Corey Garmon’s biggest concern hasn’t been with his arm, according to his mother.
“The big issue that weighed heavily on his mind was his friends in Afghanistan,” Lori said. “He said ‘I’m here, I should be over there helping them.’”
Lori said her son was relieved to know no one else with him during the explosion received life-threatening injuries, and he has been able to talk with them. Their message to Garmon has been the same as his family’s, Lori said: His job now is to get healthy.
Lori said considering all that has happened, her son’s spirits are high. The former standout athlete and quarterback at Sardis High School hoped to follow his father’s footsteps after leaving the Army and coach sports and teach. Lori said those are still his goals.
“He has no regrets, which is tough to say in his condition,” she said. “He hasn’t lost sight of all the goals he wants to accomplish.”
Star staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.