By Anthony V. Masella Jr.
Local veterans and other patriotic supporters lined the streets of Trinity Boulevard on May 14 to greet a man they believe deserves all the accolades they can bestow.
Marine Lance Corporal Justin Gaertner was on patrol on Thanksgiving Day, but his “work” was interrupted by an IED explosion that left him fighting for his life on the battlefield, realizing that both of his legs were gone. His one thought was not to worry his mother when he called his family to tell them what had happened.
Six months later, he was welcomed by his family, his fellow soldiers and strangers who are awed by this one person’s heroic story at VFW Post 7987 in Trinity.
Gaertner will spend a couple of weeks home in Trinity before he returns to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for more rehab, but for now he is amazed by the homecoming he received.
His best friend, Corporal Gabe Martinez, also lost his limbs in the same confrontation, and one wish of Gaertner is to go to Arlington Cemetery to visit two other fallen soldier’s graves. The VFW offered a lifetime membership to the young man and checks were given from various fundraisers to help in honoring his brave effort and to help in his recovery.