Injured NC Vet Receives Free Surgery and a Thank You

When people think of plastic surgery, the first words that frequently pop into their minds are “facelift” “tummy tuck” or “Botox,” which is usually followed by other words such as “unnecessary” or “vain.”

But for a Fort Brag, NC soldier, plastic surgery now means a good night’s sleep and a relief from unobstructed and severe breathing problems, a function most of us take for granted every day. It’s also a gentle reminder that plastic surgery can mean different things to different people and it can even change a person’s entire life.

Nearly six years ago, Chief Warrant Officer Cruz and his team were ambushed by Taliban in Afghanistan when a Soviet machine gun blew out the tires of their vehicle.  Unable to control the disabled vehicle, Cruz slammed into an M240 machine gum weighing 35 pounds, breaking the bone in his nose so severely that the cartilage blocked the left side of his nostril.  While a military surgery was performed in 2006, the problem returned six months later.

On November 2nd, Dr. Charles Finn performed Cruz’ operation by the removing both the scar tissue from a previous surgery and the lingering obstruction with the help of a unique organization called Faces of Honor, a program created in 2009 and operated by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Surgeons like Dr. Charles Finn, who are also members of the organization, assist returning vets like Shannon Cruz with debilitating injuries, trauma and their awaiting complicated surgeries.  Unable to breathe properly, Cruz who had served nine tours of duty in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Bosnia, could not breathe from the left side of his nose.

A Pure and Simple Thank You to Our Vets

The purpose of Faces of Honor is to provide pro bono medical and surgical expertise to veterans who were deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan and received face or neck injuries. The academy actively seeks out caring physicians to provide quality surgery to deserving veterans without ever imposing a fee or payment for surgery.

Dr. Finn also participates in the academy’s international program which provides surgical training to doctors in China and Guatemala and operates on patients overseas.  As the story unfolds, Dr. Charles Finn’s own father served in the 101st Airborne Division.  As Dr. Finn would have it, it’s just one more way in which he can give meaning to the words “giving back.”

Source: News Observer