Ian Newland was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio in the heart of corn country. He graduated high school and moved to South Dakota to begin work on a hog farm, but like all Americans, his life changed on September 11th, 2001.
He felt greatly impacted by those events and knew he wanted to make a difference the best way he knew how: by joining the US Army.
A year after the terror attacks, he graduated basic training and a became a member of the celebrated 1st Infantry Division 1-26th Blue Spaders.
He spent 38 months in service, ranking up to Staff Sergeant and doing two tours of Iraq.
The 1-26th was hit hard during his second tour in August of 2006. They lost 17 members of their company alone, becoming the hardest hit unit in almost 20 years.
But the worst was yet to come.
It was December 4th, 2006, and Ian's company was assigned to the northeast sector of the city of Baghdad, notorious for its violent and bloody fights. His convoy was ambushed by enemy fighters, one of whom threw a grenade into the truck carrying Ian and four of his comrades.
19-year-old Ross McGinnis jumped on the hand grenade, sacrificing his life to save his fellow soldiers. He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his valor and integrity.
Ian received significant shrapnel wounds in his face, arms, and legs from the explosion, and those were just the injuries you could see from the outside. He also suffered a traumatic brain injury, and he would soon find out that he had PTSD, as well.
For his services, he received a Bronze Star Medal for Valor, two Bronze Stars, a Meritorious Service Medal, a Purple Heart, two Iraqi Campaign Medals, two Global War on Terrorism medals, and an Army Achievement Ribbon.
None of those decorations sped up his recovery, one of the hardest battles he would face. It took Ian five years for his physical wounds to heal. Even that progress was unexpected, as his doctors told him he would never walk again.
When his path crossed with ours at CadiraMD, he was homeless and struggling to restore stability into his life. We were honored with the opportunity to provide him the support he needed to put his life back in order.
While he still faces PTSD, nerve damage, and the effects of his traumatic brain injury, Ian is an avid speaker for many veterans’ and wounded warrior programs across the United States, speaking words of hope and wellness to all his Brothers in Arms.