During his nine years of service as an infantryman with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, Earl Granville supported three of our nation’s largest military efforts: Operation Joint Forge in Bosnia, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. It was during this last deployment, while on patrol in Zormat, Afghanistan, that Earl’s vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. As a result of the blast, Earl’s leg had to be amputated through the knee – and he was the lucky one. Two of his fellow soldiers, Specialist Derek Holland and Major Scott Hagerty, were both killed in action.
The injury had repercussions beyond those who were immediately affected. Earl’s brother, Joseph Granville, was a veteran servicemember himself, and he had been deployed with Earl in the past, though not on this most recent tour of duty.
"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.
IIt wasn’t long after that Joseph Granville took his own life.
Now, educating veterans about suicide prevention and mental health has become a calling for Earl – he is intimately involved with a number of veteran-focused efforts to raise awareness about critical issues facing combat troops.
He is also an elite-level competitive athlete, having completed the Boston, Detroit, Chicago, New York and Marine Corps marathons, all using a hand-operated bicycle. He is an avid skier, crossfit trainer and Spartan Race competitor, demonstrating to the world that injuries injuries don’t have to be limiting and that a strong will overcomes all obstacles.