Fifth Anniversary Alive Day

Yes! Sam is alive!  In fact, yesterday was his fifth anniversary of that fatal day in Iraq in 2007 when the vehicle he was riding in was hit by a roadside bomb.  Sam made the trip from Iraq to Germany where Erin and Sam’s brother Donny where waiting for him.  He then was sent to Sam singing Elvis tunes 5_23_2012the Bethesda Naval Medical Center for a few months.  After he started coming out of his coma, he was sent to the Palo Alto Veterans Hospital.  After about six months of rehab at the VA, Sam was sent to Kentfield Hospital in Marin County.  The last few years, Sam has been residing at the Care Meridian 24 hour skilled nursing facility in Granite Bay.  We have been very pleased with the care Sam has received at Care Meridian.  He receives physical, occupational and vision therapy a couple of times a week.  Most importantly, Sam is treated like a member of the family at this facility.  Sam continues to score very high on the brain related test he is given.  He still has a real hard time with short term memory issues, but long term memory is just fine. 

Sam sitting up by himself 7_23_2012I tend to get a little down about Sam’s progress and it makes it difficult for me to write blog post about him because I always want to put out really positive reports—for that, I apologize.  I will try to be more forthcoming with my updates.  I will also resist the urge to give you to much information in this single blog post because there has been a lot of very positive things going on in the life of Sam and Erin, but I will make separate updates (preview: Erin graduated from college and getting ready for graduate school, Sam’s official retirement from the Marines, Erin and Sam buying a new house!).

Sam is still making small gains in all areas of his rehabilitation and yesterday proved to be a very good day for him.  As Julie and I were walking in to see him, he was sitting up on the rehab table without the assistance of the therapist.  Here is what Erin said in her facebook updated: 

Today is Sam’s 5th Alive Day! To commemorate the day he had an awesome physical therapy session. He sat with minimal assistance for 1:13, then 1:23. He also used his hip flexors to pick up his right leg before he kicked it out. These are both firsts. I am so proud of him.

Sam and Erin at Care Meridian 3_12_2012On top of Sam’s 5th anniversary “Alive Day”, in a few days (July 27th) Sam and Erin will be celebrating their 9th anniversary of marriage!  Besides going to school and training for marathons and triathlons (another blog post!), Erin can be found at the Care Meridian facility hanging out with Sam almost every day of the week.  Thank you for your support and continued prays for Sam.  He is a live and well and still improving every day.   One final picture of the happy couple.  Happy anniversary Sam and Erin.  We love you!


14 Responses to Fifth Anniversary Alive Day

  1. Please know that Susan and I have not forgotten about all of you, Sam Erin Tony Julie, and Eric. I am sorry I have not posted in a while, but between setting up our new place in Tennessee, work, and Susan has had some serious health issues, we have just gotten distracted about sam, We stil pray for you, and hope that God will continue to smile on you every day. Happy 5 Alive Day Sam and happy Anniversary. Our Army son David was married over a year ago, and he and his wife Sam(Samantha), have their first bouncing baby girl Liberty Kay. David is a truck drive in Texas, and this new life in his life has been the best medicine ever for his sever PTSD. God Bless you all.

  2. Joy Garrison says:

    We are proud of you Sam and Erin. All our love goes out to you both. Uncle David and Aunt Joy

  3. Anonymous says:

    Glad to see a blog post-thanks Tony! Happy Alive Day Sam 🙂

  4. Leslie Matos says:

    Thank you Sam for serving our country! My son-in-law Jeff Hazard served with you and my daughter has kept me updated with your progress. I thank God you made so much improvement. We are praying for you and your family as you go through this recovery. You are an inspiration to so many!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Happy anniversary to sam&erin!! A couple who truly teach the rest of us the meaning of love. We are so happy to celebrate SAMs alive day too, thank you for all you have given to our freedom! We love you guys and thanks tony for posting!

  6. Barbara says:

    Sam’s “alive day” is also my birthday, so I think of it as Sam’s “re-birthday” as well. I am glad to hear the news and have missed hearing about how he and Erin (and all of you) are doing. Sam is the soldier who is my personal reminder of all those who serve and are injured in their service; he and all those who love him are inspirations to us all.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Tony, thank you so much for the update Sam, Erin and family are always in our prayers, Your strength is inspiring Happy anniversary

    Terry & Christine Stewart

  8. Karen Christensen says:

    Tony first off thanks for posting…we have a picture of Sam in our office so he is never far from our thoughts and prayers! I also just want to thank the Lord for the favor he has shown Sam and Erin as well as remember those who have lost their lives in the war.

    Happy Anniversary Erin and Sam I am remembering you wedding and how my favorite DJ Terry was there serving your guests way beyond his scope of duties. Awesome and fun day!!! 🙂

  9. Rhonda McRae says:

    Tony, thank you so much for the update on Sam. So happy to hear that he continues to make progress. Erin and Sam are both truly an inspiration to us all. We continue to hold all of you close to our hearts and we remember Erin and Sam in our daily prayers.

  10. lois Brauer says:

    What a witness of their love, dedication, and having a loving family to support and surround them through it all. God’s richest blessings to all of you!

  11. Patti Kjenstad says:

    Happy, Happy 9th Anniversary to a Very Special Couple!! So great to hear all the wonderful news….”a lot of very positive things”…indeed! Oorah! Thank you, Tony, for the update and letting us share this amazing journey. We are always here praying and cheering. Bless you all! The Kjenstad Family

  12. So glad to read the update, I think of Sam constantly. You are still and always be in my heart and prayers. Happy Anniversary to the both of you.
    Debbie in Maine, Maine Troop Greeter.

  13. Anonymous says:

    You don’t know me…and I don’t know you… But I believe I may have started following this blog through an article that might have been in the paper. Irreguardless, I continute to check back at this blog every so often and think of you and your family. A hard struggle for all of you, but never failing hope and love…

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