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Iraq war veteran starts a new business

Updated:
A Green Country soldier is rebuilding his life after a roadside bombing in Iraq permanently disabled him. The accident forced him into retirement, but it isn't stopping him.

As the News on 6's Heather Lewin explains, the former Army Sergeant still supports his fellow troops from the home front. Though his body still bears the effects of his injuries, Jerry Ezell's spirit is brighter than ever. "There's no place to feel sorry for yourself."

With more than a decade in the military and in Iraq less than a month Sgt First Class Ezell never saw it coming. "We went around a little curve and got onto a narrow strip of road and an IED explosion out of the blue. Took all of about 15 seconds." 15 seconds that would change his life forever. "I took shrapnel to the front of the head here and in the back and in the lower part of the back."

In the hospital, Ezell thought he'd be back on his feet in no time. "And I thought, I'm not hurt. I'm young and I'll just recover.” But it just wasn't in the cards and in September, after 8 months of rehab he retired. With injuries that left the 32-year old with a hearing aid and brace to help him walk. "Regardless of how hurt you get, you still gotta be able to contribute."

Ezell didn't like talk about the lack of adequate protection on military vehicles, so with the help of a group called Salute America's Heroes, he decided to become part of the solution. Sharing shop space with a friend, he opened his own business, helping put other vets to work and making armor plating to protect soldiers on the move. It's equipment that might have made a difference for him that day in Iraq. "You can't dwell on things like that I mean you just, one thing in the military, I don't care what branch you join, don't dwell on it, drive on. You know? Adapt and overcome."

Ezell's still waiting to confirm a government contract for the armor plating. Tuesday he's holding an open house to jump start SFS Fabrication near Catoosa. The event will also honor other veterans and supporters.

For more information call 695-7624.
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