Edward Klein, Flip to his friends, joined the US Army in 2000. He was inspired to enlist by his older brother who graduated from West Point in 1989. Two years later, Corporal Klein was with the 82nd Airborne Division when he was honorably selected to attend West Point, following in the footsteps of his older brother. In 2006, Klein graduated from the Army military academy and headed to Ft. Benning in Georgia where he attended the grueling Ranger training.
After Ranger school, Klein was sent to Iraq and then Afghanistan. In 2012, Captain Klein stepped on an improvised explosive device. As a result of the IED, Klein lost both legs, above the knee, his right arm just above the elbow and three fingers on his left hand. Klein was airlifted from the battlefield and arrived at the Kandahar Hospital in less than an hour. He spent the next 18 months in the Warrior Transition Unit at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center recovering from his wounds.
Klein credits his wife, the staff at the Warrior Transition Unit and his Ranger training for getting him through his ordeal. When he was finally released, he and his wife Jessica found a house that was perfect for Edward in Laytonsville, Maryland in March of this year. Their landlord built a ramp and even a lift to allow him to get to the basement and back up again. Edward was then making plans to attend graduate school to pursue a Master’s Degree in organizational management.
Thursday, August 14, around 10pm, a fire broke out in Klein’s garage. He and Jessica were in the basement. As fire and smoke engulfed the house, Jessica struggled pull Edward from the basement and to the front door. Neighbors were there and helped move him away from the burning house.
By the time the fire department arrived and got the fire put out, the entire house and garage had been destroyed. The Kleins lost everything. After being treated for smoke inhalation, Jessica told the media:
“[Our landlord] allowed us to put in some different ramps, build a fence so we could have the dogs. This house was perfect for us. We were really lucky to find it. I don’t know that we’re going to find something like this ever again. We’ve been through worse. [This] is just one more setback.”
It didn’t take long for the community to rally in support of the triple amputee veteran. According to NBC Washington:
“Jessica and Edward, who have been married for 8 years, are already receiving help on a local and national level from generous donors. Kevin and Jason Kirsch, who own Chevy Chase Supermarket, heard about the fire and contacted the Kleins, offering them free groceries for the rest of the year.”
“‘They picked up Jessica, took her shopping and helped her carry the groceries home. I mean it was just fantastic,’ Edward said.”
“For now, the Kleins are living in military housing at Walter Reed.”
“They’ve been given $10,000 by OurBravest.org, an organization that builds smart homes for disabled veterans at no cost to the families. OurBravest.org plans to help the Kleins break ground on a new home next year once enough money for construction is raised.”
“In the meantime, ‘Truckin 4 Troops’ has helped the Kleins finance a replacement car.”
With all of the bad news coming out of Ferguson and other places around the nation, I was refreshed to see how a community can respond in a positive way to help a wounded warrior. Edward Klein sacrificed his limbs for freedom and he deserves to be taken care of by our nation and his community. In spite of everything we hear, there is still some good in America and that good is worth fighting to preserve.