Monday, May 19, 2008

The e-mail I opened too late ...

A local military mother e-mailed me late last week about my series, "The Long Road Home," that followed the tough challenges our local troops face in readjusting after war.

She wanted me to know about her four sons. Two have returned home from Iraq facing issues with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) while two others (twin step-sons) recently joined the Ohio Army National Guard. One is already at basic training.

Because of my busy week, I was only able to glance at the top of her email, assuming that I'd respond to her this week when I had more time.

I just read the end of her e-mail ... and I'm speechless .. because I've read it too late ...

Read on:

"But there's a family out here who is suffering terribly, their Marine was home on leave in Dec 07 and was standing at a bus stop in Cleveland's downtown area and he was shot in the neck, by two young men he grew up with on the same street in Cleveland. This Marine I am speaking of is LCPL. Robert Crutchfield, He has suffered so many surgeries since then, he has had 3 major brain surgeries due to his brain swelling, and they needed to remove his skull, to release some of the swelling. He is on a feeding tube , he can finally walk a little with assistance of others. He is presently in St Augustine Manor on Detroit Ave in Cleveland trying to recovery from his injuries..Because his family is unable to care for him the way he needs the care. Please it would mean so much to the Crutchfield family if you might do a story on this Marine in need of help.."

Crutchfield died last night. His death has been the lead story on several area radio and TV broadcasts today ... as this local Marine lost his battle to recover from his injuries.

He was only 21.

Had I read this mother's email about Crutchfield Thursday night when I received it, I don't know that I would have been able to reach the family in time to do a story about their needs before his Sunday's passing .. but I wish I could have tried nonetheless.

I hate that the limitations of time prevent all the stories that need to be told from actually getting on the air. I'm frustrated that while I had a good, informative story on the air for tonight's early news broadcast, that another more important story remained untold.

I know I can't be everywhere .. I know that I can't tell every story .. and I know that there's still a story to be told here.

But when it comes to heroes like Robert Crutchfield, other stories should wait. They just should.

I only hope that the stories we tell of his passing are presented in a way that honors the service Crtuchfield provided us during his short time on this earth. He deserves nothing less.


Anonymous said...

My prayers are with this family.

LauraNimitzmom said...

Hi Eric,
I am the military mother who sent you the message regaurding LCPL Robert Crutchfield. He was layed to rest on Tuesday with full Military honors.
Our Militaryfamilies have lost yet another Hero. May he Rest in Peace..
Thank you for sending this blog our regaurding him. I just dont want this Marine to be forgotten, Thank you , and again Thank you for your service, and the support you show for our Troops. God bless you.. Laura Aquila Eastlake, Ohio