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National Guard recruiter fighting a new battlePosted Friday, May 15, 2009, at 3:12 PM
Spec. Ricky Raley
Such is the case with a recruiter for the Linton National Guard unit -- Indiana National Guard, Alpha Company, Task Force 1-151, The Avengers.
Spec. Ricky Raley handles the recruiting duties for eastern Greene County -- which includes Bloomfield, White River Valley, and Eastern Greene high schools.
He returned from a 13-month tour of duty in Iraq in December where he earned a Purple Heart.
Raley, 23, has been a member of the National Guard for about five years. The Sullivan High School graduate formerly worked at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility at Carlisle as a corrections officer.
Raley, who began his duties as one of two local recruiters in March, was involved in a serious traffic accident April 17 near Sullivan.
Ricky was a passenger in a pickup truck and he suffered spinal cord injuries, a broken back and a severely broken right arm.
He was Lifelined to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis by air helicopter and currently is a patient at the Rehab Center of Indiana in Indianapolis.
He is presently paralyzed from the waist down and faces a long road to recovery. His friends and family say he continues to have a positive and upbeat attitude and he is determined that one day he will walk again.
His friends are throwing a special benefit event for this local war hero May 23 at Sullivan Lake to raise money to help with his medical expenses and renovations that will need to be made to his father's home -- Rick Raley -- in Lafayette after he released from the Rehab Hospital.
Ricky is planning to attend the fundraiser and would love to see his friends, according to his mother-in-law Lynn Stanton of Dugger.
"He is wanting to get out so he can attend the benefit," Stanton said Friday morning. "It something to go to Iraq get a Purple Heart and come home and have a horrible wreck like he did. It's a shame. He's a good kid."
The fundrasier will run from 11 a.m to 11 p.m. and will include a variety of activities including musical entertainment, games, a dunking booth and plenty of good food, baked goods, refreshments and fellowship.
I interviewed Ricky several months ago when he took the recruiting job and was impressed with his sincerity as well as his obvious love for his country and the mission of the Indiana National Guard.
He joined the Guard a month before his high school graduation day.
"I wanted to be in the military and decided this was best because of the benefits it had at the time," Raley said.
Spec. Raley recently returned from a year-long mobilization which included a nine-month deployment in Iraq with the Avengers. It was his first military mobilization since he signed up.
While in Iraq the Avengers were very busy -- conducting more than 200 combat missions and covered more than 250,000 miles in convey escorts over some of the most dangerous roads in the world.
Spec. Raley was in the lead gun truck. He drove a massive M900 five-ton truck equipped with a Self Protection Adaptive Roller Kit (SPARK) to detect and negate the threat of improvised explosive devices (IDEs). It is a modular mine roller system designed to be mounted on front of a convoy truck.
Spec. Raley earned a Purple Heart for injuries suffered last August when the five-ton truck he was driving encountered an IED. Raley sustained a concussion in the incident that happened on the first day of Muslim month-long observance of Ramadan, which incidentally was a time when an escalated number of enemy attacks took place.
He and fellow Guardsmen -- gunner Spec. Chris Aydt, of Bloomfield and truck commander Sgt. Kenneth Arnett -- were in the truck that day.
They sustained mild head injuries from the blast.
The Guard truck, which was damaged but repairable, was the lead vehicle in a convoy of trucks, which were hauling supplies for a civilian contractor.
It was a dangerous mission, but Raley and his Guardsmen were fortunate to all come home.
Now he faces a new challenge.
The benefit event, which is being organized by a friend, Adam Porter, will be part of Sullivan Lake's May Day celebration and will be conducted near the tennis courts.
"Let's all come together and show our support for a great veteran, friend and member of our community that we are behind him on his long road to recovery," Porter said.
His mother-in-law added, "I know he would enjoy seeing anybody and everybody."
For more information about the benefit or to donate to the event, call (812) 249-6735 or contact Porter by e-mail at email@example.com.
Let's keep Ricky in our thoughts and prayers and believe he will soon walk again. Please come out and show your support for this local hero.
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