Ernest A Miller IV was in Roatan, Honduras, building a new life after two tours in Iraq in the US Army Infantry. While in Iraq on his second tour he was injured. A car bomb attacked his Humvee directly, wounding Ernest, his gunner, and his dismounted soldier. Ernest successfully recovered from his ankle and head injuries which required surgery and four months of rehabilitation at Fort Stewart. He went on to serve a third tour in Iraq after his recovery.
After retiring from the Army and while living in Roatan, he had taken a friend home and was on his way to his own place when a drunk driver attempted to pass another vehicle and struck his scooter head-on. Ernest suffered life-threatening injuries including a skull fracture, three fractured vertebrae in his neck, damage to his teeth and jaw, and to his nose. There was also the possibility of a brain injury, requiring skilled treatment not available on the island. Being out of the U.S., his family contacted the embassy and they assisted with arrangements to have Ernest life-flighted to a trauma center in Miami, where his family flew in from Baltimore to be by his side.
Ernest has made huge strides in his recovery, successfully going through six surgeries to date. These include a fusion of the cervical spine to prevent spinal cord damage, repairs to the face, eye socket and jaw, including wiring his jaw shut for 5 weeks for healing. He required multiple facial surgeries and a prosthetic implant to rebuild the eye socket to correct his double-vision. He also went through months of rehabilitation for strength building, to rebuild his balance, and motor function in his arms and hands where he is still suffering from nerve pain.
He will require dental work and if all goes perfectly, one more major surgery which will include removal of the prosthesis and extensive rebuilding of the floor of the eye socket. The surgery will last 6 hours, and include use of stem cells and chemotherapy to help remove significant scar tissue from the three prior surgeries.
The drunk driver that hit him was uninsured, leaving Ernest with significant medical bills and debt from all the procedures to save his eyesight and his life. We've gotten a great response for the first leg of this fund-raiser, and hope that by putting this major update, you will continue to share and think about another contribution if you are able to do so.
This young man has seen first-hand the horrors of war, enlisting at 17 to serve his country and serving in an active war zone for 8 years. After surviving the car-bombing, and this horrific accident, please consider donating. Even if you can only help with $5 or $10, many of us giving a little will add up! This soldier deserves our help.