Welcome to the online home of Audra Jennings, a book publicist and crafter. Here I share about both. I hope you'll find books you'll want to read and crafts you will want to order. I live a rather boring, single life. At times I would like to think I am humorous. In the past, blogging about current seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette were a big part of the blog. I'm giving that up though. I just can't handle it anymore.
Wounded Warrior knew God had a bigger purpose for his life
Part 1 of an interview with Carlos and
Authors of Standing
Sustaining a military marriage is hard work,
especially when deployments keep a family separated for prolonged periods of
time. The strain is intensified when the serving spouse is injured in the
field. According to the PTSD Foundation of America, an
estimated two out of three marriages fail for troops suffering from combat
trauma. Carlos R. Evans and Rosemarie Evans are well aware of the difficulties,
having experienced them personally. In Standing Together: The Inspirational
Story of a Wounded Warrior and Enduring Love (Kregel Publications), they
share their inspirational story of facing severe injury, rehabilitation,
post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction. Theirs is a true story of hope and courage in the face of
Q: Carlos, first of all, thank you for your service
to our country. Can you share a little bit about what led you to enlist and the
eight years you served in the US Marine Corps?
Carlos: Many of my family members served in
Vietnam, Korea, and Operation Desert Storm. After 9/11, I felt deeply in my heart
that I had to do my part by serving my country, but I also wanted to continue
to share the gospel. I was in Bible college at the time and wanted to join as a
chaplain. In 2004, I was watching the news and saw Marines in Iraq. I admired what
they were doing, and it was in that moment I felt a strong conviction to serve.
I went to the recruiting center in Puerto Rico and joined the Marine Corps.
That is a decision I will never regret, and I would do it all over again.
During my first four years of service, I did three
combat deployments in Iraq. When I re-enlisted, I deployed to Afghanistan. It
was during that deployment that I was severely injured. We saw two years of
rehabilitation in the hospital, then I was medically retired.
Q: You were on your fourth deployment, this time
to Afghanistan, when an incident changed life as you knew it. What happened on
May 16, 2010?
was a Sergeant in the Marine Corps, leading a mission in Helmand Province, when
we were getting ready to go back to our operation center. I walked about eight
steps when I heard an explosion. I had stepped on an improvised explosive
device (IED). I felt pain in my body unlike anything I had ever felt or experienced
before. My Marines and Navy Corpsman kept me alive. I lost so much blood that
my medic had to put his thumb in my femoral artery to keep me alive. They asked
me for my wife and daughters’ names and told me they were waiting for me back
home. I was flown via medevac to the hospital in Afghanistan, and then to Germany.
From Germany, I was transferred to Bethesda Naval Hospital in Washington, DC.
As a result of my injuries, I lost both of my legs
above the knee and part of my left arm. I don’t remember what happened during
those first few days because I was intubated and sedated.
Back home in Puerto Rico, Rosemarie and my mother received
visits from Marines bringing updates about my situation. The same night I
arrived at Bethesda, my wife and parents got to the hospital and waited to take
care of me. To this day, I continue to meet people that took care of me in
Germany and Afghanistan.
That day has become the best day of my life, and
today we celebrate it as our “Alive Day.”
Q: Were deployments a source of fear in any way?
Did you think about how something might happen to you during a deployment?
Carlos: During that deployment and the three
previous ones, I don’t think I ever considered that anything was going to
happen to me. I personally knew others who had died and some who were badly
wounded, but as a Christian, I figured God was with me and would protect me
from every kind of harm. On my various furloughs, I said to friends and family
members, “I’m not going to die in Iraq or Afghanistan. God has a bigger purpose
for my life.”
But I also remember the day when all my family
members and friends came to say goodbye. I made jokes such as, “Something is
going to happen to me because this is the first time in all my deploys that
everyone came here to celebrate.” Also, before deployment, I forced my wife to watch
the movie Taking Chances. In the movie, Kevin Bacon is an officer that went
to a house and notified the family member about their loss. I told Rosemarie that
if something happened to me in Afghanistan, the Marines would come to the front
door to let her know I died in combat.
Q: Rosemarie, you write about a call that you
received on May 15 from Carlos that left you unsettled and worried. Can you
tell us more about that day and the days that followed? How long did you have to
live in uncertainty about Carlos’ condition?
Rosemarie: That Saturday night I was at my uncle’s
wedding. On my way back home, I received Carlos’s call. I was happy to hear from
him because he couldn’t call often. But when I answered the phone, I noticed
something wasn’t right. Carlos was responding flat and sometimes he was quiet.
He told me, “Things here are not the same as in Iraq. You know that I love you,
and I love my daughters.”
When he said those words, I knew he was worried
and that they were in some danger. We lost phone connection that night, and I
didn’t have the chance to speak to him again. Sunday passed, and I didn’t hear from
him. On Monday afternoon, I received a call from the Marine Corps to let me
know they would meet me at Carlos’ mother’s house. That’s when they told me Carlos
was injured, but they didn’t have all the details. From that Monday until
Friday, I waited each day for them to come to the house to deliver updated
information about his condition.
Q: You were an experienced nurse and had training
in trauma life support, but were you truly prepared to care for Carlos when he
arrived home? How did you manage taking care of Carlos and your two young
Rosemarie: As a nurse, I had the knowledge of what
should I expect to see when I met Carlos at the hospital. An intubated patient
connected to a mechanical ventilator with drainages and monitors. However, at
that point I had a different role. I was the wife of an injured husband. Being
a nurse helped me understand procedures and prognosis, but I felt the same
uncertainty, desperation, sadness and helplessness any other family member
feels when a love one is going through a difficult time. I wasn’t completely
prepared because it was an unexpected situation. Before leaving to go to
Afghanistan, Carlos and I talked about what should I expect if I saw the
Marines at the front door (that he had died in combat), but we never talked
about him coming back home seriously injured. We didn’t expect that and weren’t
aware of how many service members were injured in the war. When I stepped into Bethesda
Hospital, it was eye opening to see how many wounded service members came back
and how many families were affected.
When I first went to Bethesda, I traveled without
my daughters in order to focus on my husband. Our daughters were four years old
and five months old at the time. My mom took care of them in Puerto Rico at
first, but as the weeks passed by, I was desperate to see my daughters. I felt conflicted
between my two roles as a wife and a mom. I asked two friends in North Carolina
(where we were stationed) to take care of my daughters there. That way they could
bring my daughters to the hospital, or I could travel from Washington, D.C. to
North Carolina to see them. When the doctor told me the recovery process could
take two years, we started to make plans for how we could all be together. There
were four women who were the key to finding us a place to stay and be able to
travel daily to the hospital for treatments. We had to start early, at 5:30 in
the morning, to have our older daughter ready for school, the younger for childcare,
and Carlos ready for treatments. We started new routines, but we also had family
members that stayed with us and helped. However, we wanted to learn how to do
it as a family of four. It was hard sometimes, but God helped us through.
Q: How was your faith tested in the months that
Carlos: My faith was tested by trying to
understand where God was in the middle of my pain. Where was God when I stepped
on the IED? I was continuously asking God, “Why me?” Sometimes people would
tell me that maybe God was punishing me. Others would pray with me for a
miracle—that my legs or my left hand would grow. Sometimes I prayed I could
forget May 17, 2010. Seeing my wife and the people I love suffering, and not
being able to do anything about it, tested my faith.
Job 23:10 (NIV) says, “But he knows the way that I
take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”
Q: Please share what has
become your motto.
Carlos: One day I was trying to put on my prosthetic hand and legs.
I was struggling and getting frustrated. I wanted to look like I used to. I
believe the Holy Spirit touched my heart, and I received this message: “I am
touching more people with one hand then when I had two. Today, I am leaving
more footprints than when I had feet because all you need to touch someone is
Q: Where can people learn
more about Touching Lives Leaving Footprints and C.R. Evans Ministries?