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Episode Info: The sight of two uniformed individuals approaching a front door almost always ends the same. They have the unsettling and difficult job of telling loved ones that their son, daughter, husband, or wife has perished. The parents of Anthony Maddox didn’t experience that. Not at first anyway. His father, Jerome Maddox, received the initial call that there’d been an accident and Anthony had suffered burns on 50% of his body. Jerome updated his wife Frances as they waited for more information. Anthony’s mother, Glenda Key, looked at her husband, Ron, as he took a similar call with similar news. She noticed the shock on his face but thought the call was about another family member that had been sick. All four began a series of phone calls searching for answers. Each call seemed to deliver worse news. They planned for travel to meet Anthony wherever he was. The Army had transported him to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany with plans to transfer him to a burn unit in San Antonio. As the phone calls progressed, the news worsened. Anthony never left Germany. When parents or spouses receive news that their loved ones serving in Afghanistan have been injured, they correctly assume it the result of a firefight or IED. However, combat zones carry numerous other perils. Afghanistan, in particular, is filled with danger such as terrorism, kidnapping, drug lords, extreme weather, and civil unrest. Military work, even in non-combat roles, can present risks unlike those in the general workforce. Service-related deaths from training occur all too often. They train for dangerous work and thereby practice with dangerous ordnance, weapons, and machinery. EOD technicians live in constant peril as they seek out and secure explosives. Those flying and riding in helicopters risk their lives every time they go up in the air. Those working on the flight decks of aircraft carriers are in close proximity to spinning propellers, jet blast, and arresting gear cables that might snap. Anthony Maddox carried an M-4 and had seen combat. He wasn’t a stranger to the daily hazards around him. He served with honor and distinction. A casualty of war in a dangerous place. A respected leader taken too early. He was fortunate in early life to live in a neighborhood near Bloomington, Illinois where he and other friends played a lot of pickup basketball and tackle football. They often ended up at one another’s homes and stayed for dinner. He could be very physical and excelled in football from a young age. He took his turn at running back but loved playing linebacker. He had a strong Christian faith, was active in youth programs, and encouraged his little sisters to obey Mom and Dad. Hurricane Katrina displaced his mother and he moved in with her in Port Arthur, Texas, where he continued as a standout football player for Nederland High School. His fellow Bulldogs nicknamed him “Mad Dog” for his fierce playing style. Maddox carried an appropriate level of extremes: hard...
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