Friday, November 11, 2011

Pride in Purple

Some time ago I told you about the famous wild west cowboy that hails from my home town. But over time Johnny Ringo, born right here in sleepy old Greens Fork, left Clay Township and headed west. He made a name slinging a gun and finding himself in pursuit of some of the craziest cowboys known to American history. 

While it's fair to say he may be the most notorious name to come from Greens Fork, it certainly isn't accurate to proclaim him the most heroic. 

That title just may go to Tim Wysong, 
whether you recognize his name or not. 

Tim was a competitor for Hagerstown on the football field, the wrestling mat and also the track. He'd suit up in purple and gold and put his whole heart into that fight. It's funny, at 17,  how you believe losing a homecoming football game is the worst thing that could happen. 

None the less, maybe still feeling a bit defeated from the previous week, he proudly wore the purple the following Friday night, put his whole heart into it and tried again. 

Then Tim graduated high school. 
And joined the military. 
Certainly a decision that would forever change his life.

I'll never know what Tim has gone through. 
I'll never claim to understand. 

But I will let him tell you his story...

I joined the service because wanted to do something great. I wanted to get out on my own and start my own life. I wanted to be proud of what I was doing. And I’ll admit,  the benefits didn’t sound too bad either. I wanted to get out of Greens Fork, Indiana to meet new people.

I enjoyed everything about the time I spent in the military. I grew really close to my friends in a very short period of time. I really enjoyed getting to see other parts of the country that I wouldn’t have normally gotten to see or experience had I not joined. I loved making new friends; it’s really neat to see how other people have lived and where they come from. But what I enjoyed most was the finding the friends that count on you and you count on them; just knowing you can’t let each other down or it could be their life you’re putting in a war zone. It’s awesome.....Its also hard to explain sometimes.

Tim’s world completely changed on June 22, 2009...
We were on a four day mission in Afghanistan where we were hauling very explosive ammo; my truck was the third truck in the convoy. About four hours into the mission just outside of Kabul (capital city of Afghanistan) we were driving and  my driver and I saw a flash in front of the truck. All of a sudden I heard a very loud bang and a big bright flash of light. 
I realized I was hit. 
At that time I wasn’t sure what it was, but I did know I couldn’t feel anything from my knee down. When the rocket propelled grenade hit me it struck the door and blew the locking mechanism off the door. Somehow, I was able to grab the 350 pound door and keep it shut while my driver got us both out of the kill zone. We kept each other alive. Neither of us will ever forget that. Then they finally got stopped and got me to safety afterwards. Everything was in slow motion after I got hurt.

It was very difficult for the next 10 months while I was in the hospital at Walter Reed; my unit was still deployed - they were still out there. That was a long 10 months for me because I didn’t know how they were doing. I was only able to talk to them a few times during that period. But I did get to see them get off the plane in Colorado the moment they got home from Afghanistan.
There are a lot of long term consequences of my injury. I may never be able to have a full time job. There are always mental problems that follow that. And of course I cant do any of the things that people take for granted. I most likely will never be able to run again. I will always have a slight limp which in turn could lead to back and hip problems. I already have a bad knee. And of course the pain that comes and goes.
This severe injury has changed my life in many ways. I basically have to look for stuff thats handicapped accessible. I cant go up and down a lot of stairs like I used to be able to do. I have to take everything so much slower now. I cant be on my feet all the time or very long at all. Sometimes I have to walk with a cane. I can't do as much as I used to do when I was actually young. Now I’m basically an old man trapped in a 23-year-olds body!

Today, I miss almost everything about the army. I miss the brotherhood. I miss the strict schedule we had. Really, it was all very nice. I will always have the pride though. Nobody will ever be able to take that away from me.

Now I do my best keep in touch with those still serving. It is hard. Most of them are at different units or deployed again. But I do keep in contact with my driver. 

He’s more than a friend; he’s my brother. 
We’re close to Thanksgiving and today I’m thankful that I'm alive. I have a great family who was there every step of the way. Especially my Mom; she stayed with me the entire time while I was recovering at Walter Reed. I wouldn’t be here with out them. And I’m thankful that I can still walk with my own two legs. There was a time when the doctor thought he would have to amputate my leg because he didn’t think it would be able to be saved. But he saved it....and rebuilt it. And now I’m thankful to be walking on my own.
I have no regrets about what I have done. I am very proud of the blood that I have shed. It sucks I’m in pain almost always, but I would do it all again any day of the week, honestly. I want to say thank you to everybody who has supported me personally or supported the military. It’s very much appreciated. A simple thank you goes a very long way. 
Happy Veterans Day to those before me and those who will go after me. 
It’s a great honor to a part of something so big.

Thank You, Tim. For putting away the purple on the football field and going on to do something so selfless. Thank you for your sacrifice, so that you can now forever wear that purple around your neck. 

Today Tim resides back in our home county and is married to his love, Alyssa. 


  1. Beautiful, job well done! He is forever a hero in my eyes. Some gave all but ALL gave some. We are because of brave men and women like Tim!!

  2. I watched Tim cross the finish line at the recent Jubilee Days 5k, and I couldn't have been more proud of someone I hardly knew, or more proud to say I went to the same high school as him. Thank you so much, Tim, for your service.