WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Just one week until Thanksgiving and we have a wounded hero we can all be thankful for.
Thursday, in a special ceremony at the USS North Carolina, he got a special gift.
Exactly 14 years ago, retired marine and national guardsman Ed Salau was shot and wounded in Iraq.
Now, he is getting a special gift aboard The Battleship to honor his sacrifice.
“I’m motivated by fear. I’m scared of a lot of things. I’m scared of failure,” said Salau.
After serving in the Marine Corps for 12 years, Ed Salau then joined the Army National Guard. While deployed in Iraq 14 years ago, Ed Salau’s life changed forever.
“The enemy shot a rocket-propelled grenade at my vehicle. took off my left leg. Took off my gunner’s right leg,” said Salau.
On USS North Carolina, this wounded warrior received a special gift. An honor for his service, and a fresh start.
“So Ed gets around pretty well with his prosthetic leg. But this, he can rely on when he’s tired,” said Pepper Ailor, who is with Freedom Alliance.
Ailor and Freedom Alliance presented Salau with an all-terrain wheelchair called a “zoom chair.” The organization helps wounded military heroes around the country.
“Today was an honor because we were on a ship that is a combat veteran and we are honoring a combat veteran with society. And showing them that the sacrifices of our troops haven’t been forgotten,” said Ailor.
Salau’s injuries didn’t stop his need to serve. Now, he helps wounded marine raiders like himself, at Camp Lejeune.
The zoom chair will help Salau on and off the job.
“Being able to get to every meeting, being able to be on time. Not feeling the pain of walking too many miles. Definitely feel a little more normal by showing up,” said Salau.
Salau has not let this injury slow down his spirit. He says the support means so much.
“I stop and think about it and I get a little emotional about it. Because again, it takes a village,” said Salau.
Salau says the brotherhood he once joined is still alive. Salau says he cannot wait to ride around in his new chair and do things as simple as play on the beach with his family’s dog.