Thursday, October 28, 2010
A Kansas marine is recovering from critical injuries after a blast from Taliban explosives.
Twenty-three-year-old Marine Sergeant Jonathon Blank, of rural Augusta, lost both legs and now he is facing the fight of his life.
Sergeant Blank is currently recovering in a military hospital in Germany. He was injured in southwest Afghanistan when a blast from an improvised explosive device took both of his legs.
Chief Tyler Brewer of the August Department of Safety said those who know Jonathon Blank probably weren't surprised to hear of the Marine reenlisting when he heard that his fellow Marines were going to be deploying to Afghanistan.
"Blank's passion for public service goes back to this days when he was here at the Augusta Department of Public Safety." "So the news really took the air out of everyone here," Brewer added.
To say the news of Jonathon Blank's injuries was a shock in his hometown of Augusta, is an understatement. The Blank family has strong ties with all those working at the Augusta Department of Public Safety. "Jonathon and his twin brother Linden were Explorers on our department along with their younger sister, Abigail. I've know those kids since they were 12, 13, 14, 15 years. old," Brewer recalled.
As Explorers, Jonathon, brother Linden and Sister Abigail would ride with the firefighters on local call outs. Jonathon, a 23-year-old Marine, was part of the First Battalion Reconnaissance Team. Blank was serving in southwest Afghanistan when an IED went off, critically injuring the young sergeant. He suffered the loss of both legs along with other injuries.
Service is in the Blank family. Jonathon's brother Linden joined Augusta's Safety Department after serving with the Marines in Iraq. His mother is a Wichita Police Officer. His sister Abigail is in the ROTC at the University of Kansas.
Brewer says Jonathon could have avoided Afghanistan when the blast occurred Tuesday. "Well, he was supposed to get out in June," Brewer said. "But the kind of kid that he is...his team he worked with and trained with were going over there and they were getting in the muck and Jonathon wasn't going to see that happen without him being with his team."
Jonathon will be transferred from a military hospital in Germany to one in Maryland. That's where his family will meet him.
A fund has been established to help Sgt. Jonathon Blank and his family at the Augusta White Eagle Credit Union, 2830 Ohio Street, Augusta, KS 670100-2361.