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Double-amputee Marine vet helps stranded motorists

Dec. 11, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos, left, talks to Lance Cpl. Larry Draughn on center walk during an evening parade at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., in July 2009.
Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos, left, talks to Lance Cpl. Larry Draughn on center walk during an evening parade at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., in July 2009. (Cpl. Christopher A. Green / Marine Corps)
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FAIRBORN, OHIO — A Marine veteran who lost his legs in Afghanistan is again being called a hero — this time for helping stuck motorists out during a snowstorm.

Larry Draughn, 26, used his pickup truck to pull out three vehicles that ran off the road and into ditches during Sunday’s ice and snow in southwest Ohio, the Dayton Daily News reported. He said he saw the slide-offs from his backyard, where his son was sledding.

“I didn’t want to see anybody stranded on the side of that road; it wasn’t safe,” he said. “It was a sheet of ice, and people kept going into ditches behind my house. I wouldn’t call it heroic.”

But 77-year-old Wendell Ledbetter and his wife, Mildred, disagree. He said other vehicles were sliding past them when Draughn arrived to help, joking that he wasn’t worried about getting into the soggy ditch to hook up to their car.

“He said, ‘Don’t worry about it. I’ve got metal knees. They don’t get wet,’” Ledbetter recounted.

Draughn received prosthetic legs after losing his to a roadside bomb explosion four years ago. He said he has been well-treated in the Fairborn community and feels compelled to help. The group Homes for Our Troops built his family’s house.

“The community did so much for me as far as building my house and making sure me and my family had everything we needed,” he said.

Mildred Ledbetter was moved to tears.

“I mean, there that boy is with no legs, and he’s out there helping people still yet,” she said. “After he’s done everything a man can do in a lifetime for his country.”

Draughn said he had pulled another vehicle out recently when he spotted it stuck on his way home from a hunting trip.

“He was a hero in Afghanistan and he continues to be one here,” Mildred Ledbetter said.

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