Monday, September 12, 2016

Iraq Veteran Learns to Walk Again and Then Brew Ale

Wounded in Iraq, veteran starts over again at Flagship Brewing Co.
Staten Island Advance
Lauren Steussy
September 12, 2016

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — If you want to know what a country looks like 15 years after a terrorist attack, you could look inside a certain kettle of boiling pre-fermented beer — changing, restoring and improving with time.

This past weekend, Marine veteran Ray Sumner brewed a Georgia Peach Ale at Flagship Brewing Co. There, in Tompkinsville, he's doing his time as a 54-year-old intern, embarking on a third career in the beer industry.

It's the completion of a life's trajectory, which started when the Staten Island native saw the smoke and ashes rise out of lower Manhattan from St. George. Two years after the September 11 attacks, he got "the call that no Marine can resist."

Sumner didn't have much of choice at first. In 2005, his platoon was clearing insurgents in Haditha, Iraq, when he was shot in the hip. The bullet severed an artery in his leg and landed him in a coma for 10 days.

His sergeant was among the nearly 50 killed and 450 wounded in his unit, which took on the most casualties of any other unit in the war. It took Sumner two years to learn how to walk again.
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