BOSTON (CBS) – As Veterans Day approaches, here’s a follow up story nine years in the making, about a local Army vet who suffered devastating injuries serving in Iraq.
We first met Vincent Mannion-Brodeur in 2008 when he was at the old Spaulding Rehab in Boston.
On Thursday he was at the new Spaulding to honor one doctor who brought him back from the brink of death, and another who truly got him back on his feet.
“To me, they are angels,” Mannion-Brodeur told WBZ-TV.
When we introduced you to Mannion-Brodeur in 2008, he was undergoing difficult rehab at Spaulding.
A year earlier, when he was an Army private in Iraq, he was checking a house for insurgents when a bomb went off.
Mannion-Brodeur suffered traumatic brain injury as well as other serious wounds. He wasn’t expected to live.
On Thursday, Mannion-Brodeur and his family returned to Spaulding to honor two doctors who helped him beat extremely long odds.
“Every day’s a gift. Keep that in mind,” Mannion-Brodeur says.
“He’s doing what they can’t explain medically. So one doctor did say to us, this is what we call the grace of God,” says Maura Brodeur, Vincent’s mother.
Dr. Rocco Armonda saved Vincent’s life after he was evacuated from the battlefield, and Dr. Heechin Chae worked with him at Spaulding to start him down the road he’s now able to walk.
“They mean everything. They saved my son’s life, and saved many others,” says Jeff Brodeur, Vincent’s step-father.
The Korean War Veterans Association, which Vincent’s father is a part of, raised $25,000 for Spaulding, and today they dedicated two rooms in honor of the two doctors.
“Vincent is nothing short of miraculous. To see Vincent interact with people, to hold a conversation, to see him basically be able to ambulate. It proves that rehabilitation really does make the difference,” says Dr. Rocco Armonda.
Vincent lives with his family on the Cape.