Welcome to PaulFranklin.ca
The official website of Paul Franklin: a father, veteran, activist, motivational speaker, and proud Canadian.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

And thats the rest of the story... the 5th "alive day"

On the 15th of January 2006 just two weeks short of the end of my tour in Kandahar a vehicle I was driving was hit by a suicide bomber.   Canadian diplomat died instantly Jeff and Will were gravely injured and I was thrown onto the streets with my hands and face burnt, my left leg gone and my right leg destroyed.

Simon and me Laguna Beach on vacation from my tour Kandahar 2005

Pte Will Salikin Kandahar 2005 
Cpl Jeff Bailey Kandahar 2005
Jenna my Gwagen arriving in Kabul in 2004

Jenna dying on the streets of Kandahar 15 January 2006
Jenna dying on the streets of Kandahar 15 January 2006

The next 5 years have been a struggle as I have looked at first learning how to walk and returning to work.  Eventually moving from the very organization that I loved (1 Field Ambulance) to Land Forces Western Area HQ, travelling throughout the country and even to the US and Australia telling of the need to keep wounded service members in uniform...

Darth Vader and me Victoria 25 May 2006
Al Gore and me in Toronto 2007

Australia ADF HQ 1 Nov 2007

 Over time the military changed its mandate of releasing the wounded and embraced them as soldiers that could still fight and showcase to others that being wounded was not an end.
 Jeff has been released and Will moved to BC and are doing well.  Will is the last of our section that is still in the military.
Speech in Ontario in 2008
 I left the military (after 11 years) when several instances showcased that the future of the wounded in uniform would not be as sound as I had once thought. The bureaucrats had reeled their ugly heads from the cubicles to start to claim that we the wounded, injured and ill would not be able to wear the uniform we had almost died in.

Their reasoning was simple.  If all desk in the Canadian Forces were full, all the computers manned, every soldier sailor and aircrew able to pass the fitness test with no problems then yes the wounded would step aside.... the problem is that isn't the case, and we know it.
I was offered a position as  Cadet instructor as a way to stay in uniform and as nice as the offer was the intent was for us to not work at the units and battalions where we were but to actually go and be an instructor with the Cadets.  Imagine the burden we would place on that organization?

My expertise is in Tactical Medicine and dismounted medical skill sets... not exactly what youth 12 and up need to know.  What of the Sniper, Tank commander, Artillery officer or EOD tech?
Getting the Sacrifice Medal the last day in Uniform November 2009

Winter Paralympic torch Vancouver 2010

 I created a charity to help others..... the military having helped and showcased that everyone can have the same level of care if people just try.... 
The Northern Alberta Amputee Program and then morphing into the Franklin Fund as the charity outgrew itself even this year we are going to see increased cooperation with the Amputee Coalition of Canada.  For if one charity can do great work separately imagine what we can do collectively across Canada and across languages.... 
I still work with fellow wounded and injured soldiers and vets and try to be a sense of calm in the debate on veterans issues.
There can be a middle road that helps all....
Simon and me Spring 2010
The goal is for the next 40 years to go fairly smoothly Simon and I are very close and in fact did a trip to London this summer and with another long distance trip this spring (maybe Dubai?)

The future is very bright indeed.

1 comment: