MOUNT PLEASANT - Two soldiers were recognized this morning, one posthumously, for their sacrifices on the battlefield in the annual 2012 American Hero Awards.
Recognized this year were: Corporal Michael Jernigan, a third generation Marine from Tampa, Fla.
Just six months into his first deployment in Iraq, he was catastrophically wounded by an I.E.D. on August 22nd, 2004 in Mahmudiyah.
He suffered the loss of both eyes, a traumatic brain injury, and manages PTSD.
But since being wounded, Jernigan has made great strides towards recovery, graduating with a history degree at the University of South Florida.
He also was part of the HBO documentary “Alive Day” and has written for the New York Times website.
Jernigan also helped pioneer and fundraises for the “Paws for Patriots,” a veterans program at Southeastern Guide Dogs Inc. The other soldier recognized is
Staff Sgt. Tyler J. Smith, formerly of Ft. Bragg, N.C.
He joined the Army in May 2006. In addition to his two tours of duty in Afghanistan, he previously deployed to Iraq for 15 months in June 2007.
Smith was on his second deployment to Afghanistan when he was killed last month by an improvised explosive device in Kandahar province.
The award is sponsored by Trojan Labor and the event was held during a breakfast on the USS Yorktown at Patriots Point.