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2011 George C. Lang Award Acceptence Speech - Justin Constantine

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Published on Apr 21, 2011

It happened in October 2006. Justin Constantine was on combat patrol near Habbaniyah, halfway between Fallujah and Ramadi, Iraq. The sniper's bullet hit him behind his left ear.

"The corpsman on patrol saved my life. Without his rescue breathing and emergency tracheotomy, I would have died right there. The lance corporal rushed me through the war zone, risking his own life, to get me to the aid station."

Justin was immediately treated at the field hospitals at Al Taqaddum Airbase and Balad Air Base in Iraq. Afterward, he spent four days at Germany's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and almost five weeks at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland.

According to Justin, he is about 75 percent recovered and now receives treatment at Johns Hopkins University.

But it has never stopped Justin's will to live and thrive. He credits a quote from Winston Churchill as one of his inspirations.

"Never, never, never, give up."

Justin is certainly living those words. He runs two small businesses, tries to get in as much golf as he can, and especially enjoys spending quality time with his wife, Dahlia.

"She constantly encourages me and provided great comfort during some really rough times. She was pursuing her Ph.D. at Cambridge University in England when I was shot. We weren't married at the time, but she dropped out of her program to be with me in the hospital."

With Dahlia's help -- the person he calls "the perfect woman for me" -- Justin says he concentrates on looking forward, not about the day he was shot.

The George C. Lang Award for Courage was founded in memory of George C. Lang, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and friend of Wounded Warrior Project. George passed away on March 16, 2005.

This award is bestowed upon an individual who best exemplifies the spirit and virtue of Mr. Lang, who was a humble, yet unyielding behind-the-scenes advocate for all veterans -- especially those with disabilities. Although he shunned the spotlight, preferring to work on behalf of his fellow veterans in anonymity, George's service both during and after the Vietnam War merited public acclaim and recognition. While he shied away from public attention, he never stopped supporting his brethren, his fellow veterans. George took time to visit wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, hoping these young men and women would draw strength from his experiences in adjusting to and living with a combat-related disability. George C. Lang epitomized what it meant to be a wounded warrior, broken in body but not in spirit, soldiering on in support of his fellow service members.

For more information, visit: woundedwarriorproject.org.

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