Saturday, May 28

Ryan: My Nephew: My Friend: My True Hero

 I would be honored to have you stick around to read this regardless of the lengthiness of the story.  I promise that at the end of my story their will be an amazing tribute layout for you all to see.  This story is truly motivational and honors not only my nephew, but all of our soldiers who are or who have been in the battlefields, front lines, behind the scenes, you name it.  

***Thank You to All of Those Who Protect and Serve the USA***

     I took the opportunity from the challenges I am completing this week that have a Memorial Day Theme, to highlight and pay tribute to my nephew, Ryan Groves.  There are only a few years difference between us since he is my oldest sister's eldest son.  We grew up together, playing outside in the summer, chasing each other at picnics and cook outs, having sleep overs and telling scary stories, spending holidays together, and even went to the same High School with him graduating 4 years behind me.  The point I am getting at, is that I had no idea then, how proud I would be of the man he would become.  You see,  after high school and 2 years of college, Ryan felt he was called to serve a better purpose than the path he was currently on.  In March 2001, he entered the US Marine Corps.  He finished his Basic Training and was stationed in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii arriving on September 11, 2001.  Over the next few years, Ryan was deployed to a variety of places.  Now, where does this "calling" come into play?  Well, he volunteered to go to Iraq.  This was approved and he was sent to Camp Pendleton to be stationed with the 1st Marines, 3rd Battalion.  He became Squad Leader upon his arrival.  Then came his deployment to Iraq in June 2004 and he worked in areas around Baghdad and Fallujah.  On October 17th 2004, Ryan was hit by a mortar rocket that resulted in the loss of his left leg above the knee and injuries to his right leg that would require in the upwards of 40+ surgeries to repair.  I visited Ryan a short while after his arrival at Bethesda Naval Hospital and Walter Reed.  While we (my sister, my brother, my niece, and myself) waited to be allowed into his hospital room, I picked up several magazines to leaf through and pass the time.  I saw one magazine article with pictures and a story, that showed a Veteran scaling rock walls with remarkable ease and accuracy despite his handicap.  I read the article and found out that the individual, whose name I don't recall, was a double amputee after the injuries he incurred from the war. 
     Now it was time to head in to visit Ryan.  I, at first, was awestruck, as I didn't like seeing my nephew laying in the hospital bed, with all the contraptions around him, unable to move around and be the energetic person I knew my whole life.  I won't lie, it was sad.  I leaned down to hug him and tell him it was great to be able to make the trip to see him.  After some chit chat and general conversation, I heard Ryan say, "I won't be able to play sports anymore, or walk right."  I looked right into his eyes, and said, "Ryan, I don't even want to hear that.  I just read an article about a man who lost both of his legs and the pictures and article talked about how he is able to enjoy rock climbing now.  I love you, and remember, you can do anything you put your mind to."
     Well, it has been almost 7 years since this took place, and Ryan has accomplished a great many things he should definitely take pride in.  I am sure he does and I am sure that each accomplishment drives his desire to continue to fight for the rights of all of our Military Men and Women.
      I would be greatly honored if you would take some time, maybe not today, or tomorrow, but soon, and do a quick Google Search to learn more about the efforts he has put forth to help our fellow Americans who lay their lives on the line to keep us free.  Quickly Google: Ryan Groves Marine, and it will direct you to a number of noteworthy articles, interviews, pictures, speeches, stories, legislative issues, and more to understand some of these accomplishments.  It may also shed some light on all of the resources that are available to soldiers that YOU might know.
Some Examples:
The Wounded Warrior Project
President's Commission on Care for America's returning Wounded Warriors
Operation Second Chance   
MTV Choose or Lose Episode
and Mount Union Speech to Students

And now, without further ado.....
"This design contains artwork that is © 2006-2008 FunDraw.Com."
First page shows some shots of a few speeches that he has given since his return from Iraq.  He is an avid speaker on many topics related to general encouragement to students and others, and many topics related to the Rights of our Military Members.

Choose or Lose picture, Ryan being his goofy self giving 2 thumbs up!  Ryan leaning on his Hummer, Ryan and my sister (his mom) during their visit to the President and First Lady.  If I am not mistaken, this was the visit where he was honored with his Purple Heart. The small picture in the corner is Ryan holding a special "lucky charm" he feels is partly the reason he is alive today.

2 page spread

Title Page (page 2) TRIUMPH.  Ryan shown here during his appearance on MTV's Choose or Lose in 2008 right before the Presidential Election.  In this episode, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were addressing questions asked by several military members who returned from war.  Very powerful episode, I cried hearing the veterans discuss each of the heartfelt stories.

Challenge entries:
Cooking with Cricut - #31 Memorial Day
CSDivas - Pam's May Sketch
Stamp Something - Sentimental
Creative Creations - PATRIOTIC or Military for Memorial Day
Paper This & That - Memorial Day

Thanks for stopping by!



  1. What an awesome post. Your nephew is a very heroic, determined and inspirational man. Loved the LO. TFS,


  2. What a wonderful layout! Thanks for playing along with us at Cooking with Cricut.

  3. Beautiful Layouts, something to be so proud about for sure!:-)
    Thank-you for joining the RAK swap for JUNE, Please friend me
    (Deborah Foti)On Face book so i may add you to the group, If you already added me and i haven't added you to the RAK group please send me a message letting me know! Thanks a bunch,
    Scrappingmamma , Deborah

  4. Awesome, Jessica! What loving tribute for such an amazing man!Thanks for joining us this week at Cooking With Cricut.

    ~ Jen, CWC Design Team

  5. Thanks for participating in my challenge! I'm still having problems signing into my account! My blog is still there, I just can't access it! Sad Day :( The blogger support team aren't helping either! I dunno what to do about it, but anyways! I'll email the winner on Wed!
    Happy Scrappin'

  6. Beautiful work! Thanks for joining us at Stamp Something this week!


I so enjoy reading your comments and love hopping back over to your blog to see your latest and greatest!
:O) Jessica B.
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Cuz Crafting Rocks

FYI - If you think your comment didn't take, I have comment moderation turned on, so chances are, it is still there :)

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