By Larry Ednond/Signal News editorJune 19, 2008
MARIETTA, GA. (TRADOC News Service, June 19, 2008) -- Men and women in uniform were recognized as Georgians of the Year at the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Annual Convention June 6 at the Marietta Conference Center and Resort in Marietta, Ga.
Spc. Channing Moss, from the Fort Gordon Warrior Transition Battalion and a Georgia native, accepted the award on behalf of his fellow Wounded Warriors.
In his award presentation remarks, John Ray, WRDW-TV Channel 12 president and general manager, said, "While all of the members of our military are special, we wanted to find someone who could represent the spirit of our military and as you can probably imagine that in and of itself was a challenge."
The solution to that challenge came during a visit by a delegation of Broadcast Association members to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and to Walter Reed Army Hospital early in the spring.
The broadcasters were in the Capitol to discuss issues facing the industry with elected representatives
According to Ray, it was during the Walter Reed Army Hospital visit arranged by the office of Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) that the broadcasters observed Soldiers demonstrating extraordinarily upbeat attitudes and unwavering commitments to returning to their missions overseas despite, in some cases, devastating injuries.
"That was when we realized we would honor one of Georgia's Wounded Warriors."
As the idea jelled and the selection committee took the opportunity to look at military hospitals and Veterans Administration facilities throughout Georgia, Ray said the broadcasters became more impressed with the men and women in the military as well as the important work being done.
The search for the individual to stand and accept the award came quickly.
Spc. Channing Moss, a 25 year old native of Gainesville, literally took one for the team and lived despite the odds.
His story of battlefield survival is extraordinary in itself. More important, he exudes the core values of all that the Army holds dear.
At the awards ceremony, Ray paused in his remarks to show a video clip detailing the incredible story of Moss. The video was produced by Laurie Ott, a former Augusta television news anchor, who abandoned her media career to start a Wounded Warrior advocacy organization. Moss' story has been chronicled by major media outlets across the country. Ray offered a warning that the video was very graphic.
Moss was impaled through the abdomen with a rocket propelled grenade during a vicious firefight March 16, 2006 in Southeastern Afghanistan. The rocket tore through his hip, pelvis and intestines. But it did not detonate. When the firefight ended, he had the aluminum rod and tail fin of the rocket protruding from his body.
Assistance arrived quickly to help the wounded but medics and his fellow Soldiers had a dilemma.
The rocket that was protruding from Moss might still explode, taking out the evacuation helicopter and the medical personnel assisting him.
The personal risks taken by his squad mates, rescue and medical personnel right up through the time he arrived into surgery, speak volumes about the remarkable demands and responses military members make.
Moss is the first to acknowledge that all normal indications say he should have been dead.
The video ended and there was a poignant silence hanging across the room.
Some clutched their chests in reaction to the graphic nature of the video. Others quickly rose to their feet and began a spattering of applause.
When Moss and his wife Lorena stood to accept the award everyone rose and provided a thunderous applause.
Zack Fowler, Georgia Association of Broadcasting chairman and former commander of the American Forces Network Europe and Army Broadcasting Service, came forward to present the award.
Moss accepted the award and moved to the podium with applause still rolling.
When the din died down, he was quick to play down the idea that he is a hero. He said, "I really don't think of myself as a hero. All that I did was bring that rocket to the medical people. The real heroes are the doctors, nurses, medics and all of the Soldiers who are providing this great medical care in the Warrior Transition Battalion and the hospitals."
Moss thanked God for what he said was a miraculous survival. He also offered thanks to his Family and all military Families.
"They are the unsung heroes. We have all of these young wives dealing with all of the stuff that they have to go through. And they are still standing strong and getting the job done on the home front," he said.
Punctuating his remarks, his wife Lorena stood close behind him throughout the award ceremony.
Lorena said she is very proud of her husband. She also offered her thanks to the medical facilities and staff members providing care to her husband.
The couple has two daughters, Yuliana 4 and Ariana, 2.
The soft spoken Moss is scheduled to be medically retired this summer.
He said he plans to return to school and get as much education as he can.
During the awards ceremony the association also recognized Capt. Jimmie Abram, Warrior Transition Battalion executive officer, the Moss' parents-in-law and other military representatives present.
Previously the Georgian of the Year Award has been presented to U.S. Presidents, senators, governors and major figures in the business world.
The award is the highest honor offered by the Georgia Association of Broadcasters.
Jennifer Chipman, Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center said it is important to remember that the award is not an individual award. "This is recognition of appreciation and recognition of the sacrifices of all men and women in uniform."