Friday, December 31, 2010

Joey Philion and our Forgotten Wounded

Twenty-three years ago 14-year-old Joey Philion was a hero, for racing into his burning home looking for his mother. And sustaining burns to ninety percent of his body.

That's a General pinning a medal on him in hospital.

Today he lies in an old folks home in in B.C. waiting to die.

It has been a long, torturous journey for the boy with a big smile who is now an immobile, bloated 37-year-old man whose scarred fingers are twisted into angry fists and has stumps where his feet were burned away so long ago. His skin falls off in chunks, he has hepatitis C and has lost all his teeth.

All but forgotten and terribly lonely.

“Joe’s hanging on, I don’t know how...But it’s so lonely for him. Other than me, hardly anyone ever comes to visit now.

He said the other day that he doesn’t want to wake up any more. When he goes to sleep at night, he hopes he won’t wake up."

It's such a sad story. And to make matters even worse it reminds me of the way some of our wounded soldiers are treated.

Hailed as heroes, but hidden from view, then slowly forgotten. Or worse.

The administrative review is expected to start in the spring but sources say as many as 18 of the soldiers, some severely wounded, could be asked to leave.

Oh boy. If I lived in B.C. I would try to visit Joey Philion.

Just to say hi, and tell him what I would tell those soldiers.

Some people have short memories. Some people are bastards.

But the good are not forgotten.

And heroes are FOREVER...

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