I was going to save this story for next Sunday's Every Day Hero, but since Ben Parkinson has proved he is a hero - every single day - figured Monday morning is also a perfect time to introduce him:
I will walk tall again: The Para blown apart in Afghanistan describes his amazing recovery - and his determination to rejoin the regiment
For Queen and country: Pictured in Iraq, Ben relished his role as a soldier
By Mandy Appleyard
Last updated at 2:09 AM on 03rd August 2009
The crowd assembled in the sunshine for Armed Forces Day falls silent as the war veteran in full dress uniform takes his position proudly beneath the fluttering Union Jack. The Lance Bombardier delivers a brief but inspiring speech to the assembled servicemen, veterans and their families about his pride at being a soldier.
Handsome and broad-shouldered, he might, from a certain angle, look the picture of robust physical fitness, a young serviceman in his prime. Glance down, though, and you will see that he is sitting in a wheelchair.
His legs are gone from the knees down. In fact, he is the most grievously injured serviceman to have survived in modern warfare.
Miracle: Doctors did not expect Ben to recover from his wounds but the former soldier has made a remarkable recovery
Given that 25-year-old Ben Parkinson was expected by doctors to die of his wounds after he was blown up by a landmine in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, three years ago, never mind to speak again, his appearance at that gathering in June was nothing short of a miracle.
For this remarkable young man, however, it was just a staging post in an extraordinary journey which he is determined will end in him returning to his regiment and Army career.
Today, at his four-bedroom bungalow in Doncaster, he is sitting with his mother Diane, who has nurtured his progress as only a mother could since his broken body was flown back to Britain.
Each day, she watches over her handsome son as he struggles to walk, talk and rebuild every aspect of a life that was so nearly snatched from him.
Where Ben was once a 6ft 4in hero, who relished his career in the 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, he now navigates his home in his wheelchair. But his intense brown eyes shine, and he is alert in conversation...
This brief excerpt doesn't even come close to the full character - the measure - of Ben Parkinson. Please take the time to go here and read the rest. Ben Parkinson IS an example of the best of Britain's present day heroes. Once again, men like this prove why they are heroes, every single day.
You do us all proud. Thank YOU for your service, Ben!
H/T My pal KYW, who knew I would love this story.