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NEWS MARCH 2011

3-7-11
 
I have spoken to Mary Anne, John's mother, she is still very ill & trying to get better.  John has gone through some very dark days recently.  Visits pick up his spirits but take a toll on his energy Mary Anne has requested that anyone wanting to visit John contact her beforehand at maccake42@HOTMAIL.COM.  John may soon be moved to Walter Reed Hospital & his contact information will constantly be updated.  Mary Anne will stay in constant contact with me so that all information is up to date & current.  She wishes to thank you all for all your concern & the outpouring of support.  We need to mobilize to stay on track for the family.  Don't hesitate to contact me at jgcfam@gmail.com with any information that you may feel important & should be shared.  Keep those fund raisers going as we all fight for John & his family.  God Bless   
 
3-8-11 
John was moved today to Walter Reed Army Medical Center...see MAIL FOR JOHN  (under Navigation tab) for address information.  SEE REVISION IN MAIL FOR JOHN 3-9-11
 
 
3-9-11
 
IMPORTANT REVISION - correction on the e-mail address noted on 3-7-11 correction is jgcfam@gmail.com
 
Mom, dad & Ben are also moving over to WALTER REED ARMY MEDICAL CENTER from The Fischer House.  The move from one facility to another is chaotic & very stressful, the family is extremely fatigued.  In order to be there for John they take shifts, trying to rest & be with him.  Internet service at Walter Redd Hospital is poor which is impeding communication.  I have spoken with John this evening & his spirit is holding steady.  He wants to tell his story but has little energy to do so at this point.  He will speak to journalists as time goes on & when he is able.  Please do not try to contact him directly.  News releases are crutial & journalists who want to speak with him will be able to do so when John gives the thumbs up. The family will be diligent & stay in contact with reporters so that John can speak when he is able to.  His days will be filled with intensive physical therapy & take it's toll.  He was caught off guard when I told him about all the support that is being generated & that he now has his own website, which will be problematic as mentioned earlier there is poor internet reception.  While speaking with him it is clear that he has not yet processed all that has occurred.  He has yet to fully comprehend why he is the focus of so much support & attention.    
 
3-10-11    
 
John's aunt, Patty is doing a live radio interview on the radio station I-95 at 9:30am this morning...
 
3-11-11
 
Check out the photo of a handsom, young man, a weary family still blessed to have him & President Obama under PICTURES.  There is more information to add but for right now I will tell you that a very special woman, with credentials through the roof reached out and extended herself today.  She was the blessing of the day.  She took significant troubles and problems off the families plate and is handling them.  She is not only an angel but a true LADY.  When you stop believing & give up hope someone will reach out to you and guide you.  There are services that the military covers and then there are gaps that need to be filled and you can't figure them out.  Housing is an issue for the family members and things need to be worked out.  John will move to Mologne House upon his discharge from Walter Reed.  He is covered to have 1 family member be with him.  Arrangements are being handled by this special woman to see if some accomodations can be made for the other family members to remain close by.  This will be on a temporary basis.  But any support or resolvement is appreciated and welcome.  John will remain at Mologne House until he is able to function on his own which is where the long road ahead begins.  Fund raising will bring these things together.  Since John's injuries, John & his family have been contacted regarding other members of John's unit that have not made it back and they grieve for them and their families.
 
3-12-11
 
This is John's aunt checking back in....there is a lot of news and I will be posting today in bits and pieces.  Happy 21st Birthday JOHN.  His voice was smaller last night & had more labored speeech, slower & more fatigued but wanted the phone call and a chance to talk.  He is on strong medication and clarity is an issue.  As I speak with him each time I get a better understanding by putting together bits and pieces.  He is VERY  worried that people will be upset with him as he is not ready to go to FACEBOOK or the website and doesn't want people to think he is not responding because he doesn't want to talk yet.  I told him I would relay that message and for him not to worry about it right now.  I told him people will understand and all their messages are waiting for him when he is up to tackling that.  I got from him that he does not have internet assecc in his room, he has to go to what is called the family lounge where he can go online but he's not up to that right now.
He is starting to get his appetite back and when I asked him about the food he said it's really good just like home cooking.  I asked him what he had for breakfast and he got some enthusiasm in his voice and said he gets to pick from waffles or blueberry pancakes and he loves the bluebery pancakes.  He then added "I can have a shake whenever I want" and I acknowledged that was a big deal.  

 

John was surprized on Friday when he said a group of big (size) men came to see him.  He stated they were from the American Security Council Foundation and they gave him a plaque.  He also received a letter from Senator Ball.  He said the Putnam County Sheriff, Donald B. Smith was there with the group.  He said and guess what...Donald B. Smith served as a Briadier General in the United States Army.  He repeated this several times and it was unbelievable that they came all the way down there just to see him..  He told me they said to him that he is a HERO.  He asked me why everyone keeps calling him a HERO and I explained that in time he will be able to process that..He said to me that I gues what happened is pretty tramatic and I said in time he will be able to grasp things and they will be clearer.  He said that they (family) thought that I had sent the group to see him and they found out from the group that I had not and that they had come down on their own.  Again, he is in disbelief about the attention.

 

Earlier in the week he was visited by the Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Carlton W. Kent
who are honored by John's sacrifice and presented him with honorary coins.  There are photos of the visit which I am in the process of adding to PHOTOS.

 

Because today is his birthday there is a SURPRIZE planned and I will keep you posted.

 

Please go to jgcfam@gamil.com to inform us of any Find Raisers that people wish to organize and sponsor.  The funds presently raised & future fund raising is what is keeping John, his mother, father & brother afloat.  John is concerned about the financial burden on the family right now as they try to maintain there bills from home and expenses they are incurring while they are in Bethesda with him. 

 

Picture are posted  of John being presented with honorary coins....

 

The correct spelling is MOLOGNE HOUSE.  I have updated the information under "CONTACT" for MaryAnne's information.  

 

John's belongings from Camp Lejeune were returned to his Brewster, NY address.  The family has been notified that John's belongings from Afghanistan are contaminated and must be destroyed.

 

For John's birthday as many as John's family & friends that could fit, piled into a Caravan and made the journey to spend the day with him.... it proved to be the best birthday gift and huge unexpected surprize for JOHN...there should be photos of his birthday bash to be posted under photos as soon as they are received.  

 

3-13-11

 

MESSAGE FROM JOHN'S MOTHER, MARYANNE:

 

John celebrated his 21st birthday at Walter Reed with suprise visit from family and friends.  He was smothered with love.  Thanks to everyone for making it such a memorable one for us, we are so glad to have him with us to celebrate his life this day.  He saw everyone's post on facebook wishing him a Happy Birthday.  It was a great day.  Because of his great strength the Drs. are looking to push him to outpatient sooner than we would like but we are taking it one day at a time.  John is anxious to rehabilitate as soon as possible so he can get those bionic legs everyone is telling him about.  His healing is really progressing because of the love of his family around him all the time, we are trying to spend as much time with him as possible until he his functional on his own, however the financial aid will dissipate as soon as he goes outpatient.  I am doing everything I can to stay here with him, and his request is for me to be here along with his brother Ben.  Thanks to all who are helping to make this happen for us, our love for you is immesurable!

 

3-14-11
 
Prayers are very POWERFULL & John has been included in many congregations' prayer groups and mentioned in their bulletins.  This source of power is a prominent part of recovery and is encouraged and appreciated in every way.  Today and everyday we are joyful to have John with us but we do not go a minute without heartfelt grief for the families of our soldiers who have fallen and the irreplaceable emptyness that is left behind.
 
I received a call today from Putnam County Sheriff, Donald B. Smith.  He told me how impressed he and the members of his group were that visited with John on 3-11-11.  They were all so moved to have met John and have a chance to speak with him, he is a "Poster Marine" that really left an impact on them all.  Donald B. Smith is committed to assist John and his family by any means possible.  He said he will stay in touch regarding John and his family.   
 
A message from John's mother, MaryAnne
 
"John we will always stand by you and your fellow servicemen. You are all amazing to me! 
We must be there for them, they are there for so many. God Bless these men who live what we only see in our nightmares."
 
 

 

3-15-11

 

Senator Ball has assigned staff members to provide support and make available any resources' 

that can be utilized through his office.  This occurred at the onset of our knowledge that John had been injured and was in need of critical care.  His office staff members have provided support and more.  They have been a constant and available source 24 - 7.  John and him family are very grateful for the level of time and attendance they have been afforded.  We have reassurance from his staff that they are in this process for the long haul.

 

MaryAnne was desperate to receive the hugs and support from the family and friends that trekked down to Washington for John's 21st Birthday visit.  She told me it did her a world of good and it was just what she needed.  There are many more, much needed hugs from her family to come just as soon as we do what's needed to be done here and we can get in the car and go.  We wrestle every day to be there with them and stay here where we have "work" to do.  John is texting me to call him.....I gotta go....be back soon.       

 

I'm back..John had a visit today from his great Aunt Mimi and Uncle Jack.  They stopped off to see John on their way to see their son for his birthday.  They stayed for about 1 to 1 and  1/2 hours and John said it was great to see them.  He got hugs from his family and "it feels really good".  For dinner he had salad with chicken, carrots, french fries on the side and (he emphasized) apple pie!! 
 
Lots of people come in and out of his room all day and even though he likes to see them they are too many..too much and he gets very tired.  There is one lady John says is in her 70's or 80's (he's not sure) she is the wife of a retired Marine who is a double amputee who served in Korea.  They come to visit him together.  She brings him homemade oatmeal, chocolate cookies.  John says they are awesome....so good.....  He says he has lots of goodies..too much..in his room as he is only able to eat a small snack a day..he gets full.  He can't believe that Ethan  and Lou from the radio station I-95 cover his story about 3 - 4 times a day.  They are his favorite DJ's and I-95 is his favorite radio station.  

 

 

MaryAnne sounds better, the medication she is on seems to be kicking in so from a physical stand point that part is improving.  Her accommodations are on the grounds of the hospital within walking distance.  Her room is a "crude" bunker adjacent to another bunker with a shared bathroom in between.  The occupant of the other bunker is a woman with a 1 and a 1/2 yr. old and, as babies do cries throughout the night.  MaryAnne turns on the TV, fan and opens the window and gradually grabs some short periods of sleep.  She is not complaining because it keeps her close to John and whatever accommodations will provide her to do so she will take.  When John becomes outpatient she will need to find other housing.  In military style a moment's notice is given as to what is happening and when, it is expected for all to be prepared at any time for any changes.  When John will move to Malogne House from Walter Reed is imminent but not scheduled.  It is there he will be switched from outpatient to inpatient status as he continues to need surgical procedures.  She is anxious because she needs to stay by her son and no definite plans are in place.  She is working with the Semper Fi organization for assistance with this, but she has no answers if they will be able to accommodate her or not.  This is a huge concern to her as well as to Ben who is the designated family member allowed to stay with him and have his housing needs covered by the military.  Ben needs MaryAnne to stay with him as much as John needs her to stay.  Ben is very anxious as well.  When John is in pain ,as when most people are, it gets taken out on the very ones who are providing the care giving and bears a large weight and a takes a taxing toll.  John is in pain most often and to feel helpless and unable to take that pain from him only adds to the strain. 
 
I have been diligent with the several journalists that have been in contact with me.  I have spoken to John and he does want to talk with them, they are his voice.  At this time he can only take small moves towards recovery.  When his strength builds up and he is better able to engage in this process he will let me know ASAP and I WILL contact you.  John asks that you please be patient with him as he feels  it is so very important to him to talk to each reporter, as he is able....don't give up on him!   

 

Fund raising for John is a top priority at this time.  His physical, emotion and mental well being needs to heal..slowly and for the long run..his needs need to be met in any way possible for him to progress through this journey.  Please e-mail jgcfam@gmail.com with fund raisers so his grateful supporters can be informed of events where they can show their support.  Every day is a day to give thanks and today is another one of those days.  Thank you!      
 
3-16-11 
 
Added a few more photos of John's birthday..
 
 

 

3-16-11
 
John has done an article, which is an account of what happened on 2-15-11 and the following days thereafter.  It was published today as front page news www.poughkeepsiejournal.com  and the headlin is:
 
Local Marine, wounded in Afghanistan, recalls hour of sacrifice
 
Other numerous publications throughout the surrounding counties are releasing information regarding his fund raising events and expression of gratitude for all the support he is receiving.  He has started to tell his story in his own way and at his own pace.  His bravery and honor shine through his account of a day and a duty, while serving his country, that is so compelling as to the commitment and sacrifice he has made....we need to serve him as he has served his country and the many, many soldiers that have fallen and continue to fight to provide "Peace through Strength".   
 
There is an important point that needs to be clarified...the article eluded to the fund raising as a means to cover John's medical and transportation...John has coverage through the military for his medical expenses and other services that are provided for him...the fund raising is for needs that are not covered through the military or any other available source for John...and any needs that occur for his immediate family to be with him and give him what only his family can give him to recover...his mother and brother have left their jobs to be with him and will continue to be with him as long as those services are available to them...fund raising will take John and his family beyond...when other means have been expended.  There is a long journey ahead. 
 
The article also stated on the continuation page "MARINE:  Local native lost legs below knee".
That is not accurate, as John has lost both his legs ABOVE the knees. 
 
I have spoken with the editor of the Poughkeepsie Journal ...for clarification purposes..the article as written referenced John's injuries as they occurred the day of 2-15-11.  When the explosion happened he had lost both legs at the knees...the story does not include the current status that as a result of surgeries performed he is currently a double amputee above his knees.  There is a gap in time and space as to what happened on 2-15-11 and where things are today.  He was very mindful and respectful wanting to stay in touch and follow John's story.  He will include his fund raising events in their news calander and follow up on the outcome of the spaghetti dinner at the American Legion Hall 3-19-11 in Wingdale. The community businesses donated all items for this event.   
 
There is an update in contacts for John's father, Bernard Curtin.  He is housed at the same residence in a seperate quarter.  Mail can be sent to him at the address provided under CONTACTS.  He has no e-mail address for correspondence via the internet.   
 
3-17-11
 
John and I did not have a conversation tonight.  I texted him if he was up to a call and he texted back I'm opening a lot of mail right now......good therapy and your messages are getting through..HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!!!!
 
 

 

Today John IS "FRUSTRATED"...but He is also very excited because he wants to see me ( John's mom, MaryAnne, has four sisters and I am the oldest of the five) and I have been telling him as soon as I finish up here I'm packed and ready to goooooooooo.  He told me that there is a program through the military and he is checking to see how they can get me down there.  I said "so you are helping me now, OK! and he laughed.  While we (MaryAnne and John) were together in his room this morning  John was visited by his old friend Mike Jaouen (Spelling not sure of and will correct if necessary) He used who used to run the workout room at Dover and played a huge part in John's life while John was growing up in his High School years.  The visit brought him to tears......  I, MaryAnne, think it also reminded him of all the things he is unable to do right now.  I spent the night with him last night, because Ben and Bernard took a break and were not here, they took a break and I have been at the hospital now for 27 hours and I'm ready to go back and take a shower.  When I am with him it is hard to take any messages because I am always jumping up and down for him and there is always something that needs my attention.
Love, MaryAnne

 

From Aunt Katie:

I found out yesterday that a business man had a St. Partick' s Day Dinner Fund Raiser and will follow up on the specific information about the event and outcome...we were not notified that the event was being held so we didn't post it.  There are many other projects in the works but no definite,  specific plans....will keep you posted.  
I had a woman call my house and wanted to know if she the right number.  I have that mechanical thing that says "leave a message".  She left amessage that she wants to go to the Spaghetti Dinner "for this Brave Marine".  She said she need to know when and where to go to  along with all the other specifics.  She said she was so glad she found me by looking me up in the phone book!  She wants to make a donation, but also wants to go to show support...I thanked her and said "God Bless".
 
I added Ben Curtin under "CONTACT" he is in a different bunker but has the same address
 
 
3-21-11
 
Aunt Katie checking in...
Spoke with John and he, Ben & John's friend, Theresa from DC are all playing a game of Mario Party on Nintendo DS...if you don't know what that is ask your children.  I spoke to Ben and said let John win...he laughed and said John always wins anyways.  Ben is not coming back for the Dodge Ball Game on the 24th, he needs to be in DC with John.The event & team players will honor John as they play to claim the victory. 
 
3-22-11
 
Aunt (Kathleen) Katie checking in:
John had a visit from relatives this past weekend from Dennis Curtin & his wife...he still cannot believe the distance poeple travel to see him.
 
There is a lot of momentum gearing up for the next 2 events.  The Dodge Ball Game 3-24-11 & the Putnam Lake VFW this Saturday.  There are updates on John's Medical condition on the left hand side of this page...to be continued .....
 
 

 3-25-11

Since the move on 3-25-11 Ben is John's primary caregiver.  Mary Anne & Bernard can no longer stay in the evenings as Ben does.  Mary Anne & Bernard are able to be with John during daytime hours.  The shift in routine has taken everyone off course for a bit...they need time to reajust & get into their new schedule. 
 
MOLOGNE HOUSE
JOHN G. CURTIN / BEN CURTIN 
ROOM 219
6900 GEORGIA AVENUE
NW BUILDING 20
WASHINGTON, DC  20307-5001