Wednesday, June 25, 2014

UPDATE: Anthony Howell

I have been writing about Anthony Howell and how he was found after missing for about three weeks.  The news is good.  I spoke with his mother, Bridget, recently and she filled me in on everything that happened.

It turns out his unit commander would have two of his fellow Army National Guardsmen going out in tandem to look for him while the remainder of the unit was doing maneuvers.  The next day, two others would go out.  The next day, two more, and so on.  He was found just days after my initial posting here a few weeks ago.

Bridget told me that my blog posting was what blew the search wide open.  She said the posting was shared and shared and shared again via social media until it led to his being found.  

In addition to some other physical issues, Anthony's tour in Egypt resulted in his suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  After being found, he was transported from Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he had been stationed, to Nashville, Tennessee.  The idea was to get him into a VA hospital near when his mother lives, to which he agreed.  Bridget said she was worried how he would be on the flight east, but he was fine for the whole flight.

As she relayed the story, she and Anthony were in the car together, when something was clearly wrong with him.  She didn't know what was wrong, just that it was serious, so she decided to speed to draw attention to her.  She ended up behind a Tennessee state trooper's car.  She honked and flashed her headlights to get his attention.  She did and the two of them pulled over.

The trooper talked with Anthony to see what was wrong and managed to keep Bridget calm as well.  He called Emergency Medical Services and they arrived shortly after.  He convinced the paramedics to take Anthony to the VA hospital instead of the usual practice of going to the closest hospital.  

After they took him in, a doctor spoke with him and decided he should be admitted as an inpatient.  Likely in his confusion from diabetic shock, he initially panicked and did not want that, but the doctor went ahead and admitted him involuntarily.  It was the VA doctors who told Bridget that Anthony had gone into diabetic shock (extremely low blood sugar) while they were on the road.  She said he's not diabetic, so she never considered that as a possibility of what was wrong with him.

The officer who acted quickly was Tennessee Highway Patrol Sergeant Dinkleman.
THP Sgt. Dunkleman

On social media, Anthony's mother Bridget wrote, "[T]he boys of the Albuquerque Army National Guard are [amazing].  Not one of them questioned, and every one that I spoke with who didn't know me from Adam said 'He is our brother.'  They took the lyrics of 'Citizen/Soldier' to a whole new level and lived every word.  I am so proud of every one of them."

One relieved mother.  One amazing band of brothers.  One healing young man.  One amazing story of dedication, perseverance, and love.

Bridget told me than Anthony comes home today.  He will begin outpatient work with the hospital three times a week.  He has a long road ahead of him in his recovery, but he has already expressed a strong interest in joining the hospital's residential mentoring program to both help others and to help him readjust to civilian life.

Big time props go to Anthony's fellow Guardsmen of 11 Bravo in Albuquerque, New Mexico for their sense of brotherhood and perseverance and to Tennessee Highway Patrol Sergeant Dinkleman for his quick thinking ... and to every single individual who took my posting and ran with it on social media. 

Bridget mentioned the song 'Citizen/Soldier' in her comments above.  The song is by the band 3 Doors Down and was part of a national advertising campaign for the National Guard, which began being shown in movie theaters in late 2007.  I will close this posting with an extended video of the song:


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