Marine Corporal Aaron Mankin thought he was going to die. He looked up as the fire engulfed him, and thought, “this is how my story ends.” But that wasn’t how his story ended. He has gone on to inspire thousands through his fight for life, and through something called “Operation Mend,” he has reclaimed his life…
Operation Mend’s website describes what happened to Mankin that fateful day:
“On May 11th, 2005, he was wounded when the 26-ton amphibious assault vehicle he was traveling in rolled over an improvised explosive device and was propelled 10 feet in the air. Four Marines died in the attack and 11 others were injured. In addition to the damage sustained to his throat and lungs from smoke inhalation, Cpl. Mankin suffered intense burns on over 25 percent of his body. His ears, nose and mouth were essentially gone and he lost two fingers on his right hand.”
“A lot of what I have to tell other veterans, and that’s that there’s so much in life you can’t control,’’ Mankin said. “Life happens to you. But your power resides in the fact that you can choose how you respond to that.” Mankin has helped so many veterans come to terms with life after war.
“I woke up in the ICU, and there was a mirror in my room that I willingly ignored for weeks,’’ Mankin said. “When I finally got the courage, I cried for the longest time. It’s such a disconnect looking at yourself and you expect to see someone that resembles you, and it was a stranger staring back at me, and it was a lot to deal with.”
“Beauty is who you are,’’ Mankin said. “It’s not the way you look. That’s important for my kids to learn. Just the way they look at me makes me feel special.” Please pray for Aaron Mankin!