Earl Granville is no stranger to challenges. One of his first began right after his graduation from high school with his twin brother, Joe. The two left their hometown of Carbondale, PA and enlisted in the 109th Pennsylvania National Guard, a unit that hadn’t been deployed in over 52 years. Then, two weeks after the brothers enlisted, 9/11 happened, and in June of 2005, the entire town of Carbondale, PA came to say goodbye to the 109th as they went overseas.
Both brothers served side by side in Bosnia and in Iraq. Then Earl was sent to Afghanistan, which would would prove to be his last deployment. In 2008, his convoy hit an IED, causing him to lose his leg. Two brothers-in-arms, Specialist Derek Holland and Major Scott Hagerty, were killed in the blast.
Earl would have to have his leg amputated through the knee, but he was lucky to be alive. After the injury, he returned to his family, only to discover that his injury was felt just as deeply by those at home.
"Of everyone in my family, my twin brother took [my injury] pretty hard," Earl explained in an interview with Army journalist Sergeant Ashley Curtis.
"After I got hurt, he was told he couldn't go to Iraq on a deployment he already had orders for. They sent his wife instead and it was just a downward spiral from there.”
His brother suffered from PTSD, and soon after his wife was deployed, he took his own life.
During his time of grief, there was one major thought on Earl’s mind, which he later recounted in a post to the National Memorial Day Concert Blog: “How can I use this to help others?”
That’s exactly what he did – and still does to this day. He now spends his time educating veterans about suicide prevention and mental health, a job he says is now his new calling in life.
“My passion is talking about Joe’s passing,” Earl writes in the blog. It’s that passion and that fire that drive him, even in athletic competitions.
Earl is a Spartan Warrior, an avid skier and a frequent marathoner, running in Boston, New York, Detroit, Chicago, and the Marines Corps Marathon. No matter what adversity he’s faced, he’s never let it stop him.
His strength, courage, and determination are some of the things that make him one of our Cadira Heroes. His compassion, willingness to help others and leadership among his fellow veterans are some of the things that make him an incredible human being.
If you,or anyone you know is struggling though depression or PTSD, please call 1-800-273-TALK to speak with the Military and Veterans Crisis Hotline.
Every day, an average of 20 veterans die by suicide. You can be part of the change. Please call, chat in at https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/ChatTermsOfService.aspx, or text 838-255 for help.