Army Vet With ITP Finds An Escape
November 10th, 2014; posted by: WeBleed Staff
(Staff Sgt. Melinda Hamilton speaks with a Caldwell Hunting Club member)
For Staff Sgt. Melinda Hamilton it wasn’t the stray bullet that almost killed her in Iraq or the close calls her battalion (the 505th) had in Afghanistan that sidelined her military career.
It was ITP.
“They told me, ‘Welcome home, you’re a hero.’ But I didn’t feel like it,” Melinda tells the Fayetteville Observer.
The Army medic’s deployment ended when she was rushed from the war zone to an Army hospital in Germany. Doctor’s would eventually diagnose Melinda immune thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP), an autoimmune disorder that often leaves her so weak that she is forced to use a wheelchair.
“She didn’t come home well,” her husband Bryan says. “It wasn’t like we wanted. But she came home alive, and that’s all I care about.”
While it may not be a cure, the Caldwell (North Carolina) Hunting Club, offers the Hamiltons an escape. Each year, the Club hosts “Wounded Warriors” from nearby Fort Bragg for spring turkey hunts and fall deer hunts.
The Hamiltons set a record at last year’s deer hunt – 5 in two hours. At the spring event, Melinda shot the largest turkey. This month she hopes to land the biggest deer.
The upcoming weekend hunting trip, which is entirely paid for through donations, helps Melinda to forget about her seemingly endless visits to doctors and hospitals. Returning to Caldwell each year puts things in perspective for her, “I’m still here. I’m still holding on, still going strong.”
If you live in north western North Carolina and have an interest in volunteering (the Club is looking for hunting guides, deer skinners, cooks, and food servers) or you would like to make a donation, please contact Earl Brown with the Caldwell Wounded Warrior Hunt at 919.819.5008 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos: Fayetteville Observer/Elizabeth Frantz
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