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SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake City woman is donating her time and money to form a charity for Utah's injured soldiers. Her effort is called "Thank A Hero."
Sarah Guggenheim says those wounded on the front lines are often forgotten after they get home. So, she's reaching out to two soldiers hurt in an IED explosion.
She says these soldiers not only need help in healing physically and emotionally, but also in repairing important family bonds.
Cpl. James McCloy and Spc. Quinn Jensen share a special bond that was formed through a single traumatic experience.
As members of the Army's 744th Engineer Company based in Ogden, their job was to find explosives in the path ahead.
"Sometimes we found them the easy way, and sometimes we found them the hard way," McCloy said.
In March 2011 they found a decoy in the road, cleared it and continued forward.
He's the guy that pulled me out of the truck, put the tourniquet on my arm, and probably saved my life.
–Spc. Quinn Jensen
"We found the actual bomb the hard way," McCloy said.
Their vehicle was launched into the air.
"Our truck itself was blown straight up on the back end. It stayed that way, like a rocket ship, pointing at the sky," he said. "It took me a minute to realize, whoa, we just got blown up."
Jensen explained, "He's the guy that pulled me out of the truck, put the tourniquet on my arm, and probably saved my life."
McCloy was injured in his collarbone and leg, and now suffers from tinnitus. Jensen had shattered bones in his elbow, both heels and his back. He doesn't remember the blast nor receiving the Purple Heart four days later.
Now Guggenheim, the wife of a retired U.S. Navy machinist who served in the first Gulf War, is reaching out to them and hopefully others.
"I think it's really important that they understand that they are not forgotten at all," she said.
Her plan is to send these soldiers and their families to Disneyland next June.
- Purchase Flag Stars (four sizes, possible personalization) www.etsy.com/shop/ThankAHero
- Donate at www.gofundme.com/ThankAHero, which charges a small fee.
- Book any Disney vacation and 10% of your trip cost is donated to the funds. Huge discounts are available during the event time frame. www.facebook.com/M13dLite
Spc. Jensen's wife, Monica, said, "To just give the these few days, to go and enjoy us as a family, means so much to us."
Their wives say time to re-build those family bonds will be priceless.
Cpl. McCloy's wife, Julie, said, "When they get home from Afghanistan, the bonds with the kids are kind of torn apart. They know their father, but the bond is not the same."
Guggenheim says this is just the beginning. She wants to continue to expand her charity.
She says she's also working with Disneyland to invite active military and veterans nationwide to come out next June for a special remembrance of fallen soldiers.
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