KENDALL, Fla. – A war veteran who received the Purple Heart after saving the life of a wounded Marine during an attack in Afghanistan arrived Monday in South Florida to undergo surgery to save his leg.
Anthony Ameen has his own non-profit called Wings for Warriors to help wounded veterans, but he never thought it would be him being flown to Baptist Hospital in Kendall to receive the life-changing surgery.
Ameen has undergone 33 surgeries over nine years since he stepped on an IED while serving in the Marines in Afghanistan.
"I was running to save a Marine's life who lost his airway, and in the midst of running to save his life, I ended up stepping on an IED," Ameen said. "He not only lost his life and I lost my leg, but I'm living for him and the others who didn't come home."
Ameen lost his left leg and was fighting to keep his right one.
An infection took over and wasn't brought under control until he was connected with a team at Baptist Hospital.
"I had a hole, a seeping hole, a gaping hole, and it was there for years," he said.
With the help of an organization called Restoring Heroes, Ameen was flown to South Florida from home in Arizona last spring for the life-saving procedure.
"It really gave us the opportunity to work together to really help someone who made a huge sacrifice for us all in this country," Dr. Joshua Lampert said.
Ameen's 34th and final operation is scheduled Tuesday at the hospital.
Doctors will remove a rod they implanted in his tibia.
With his wife by his side, the father of four is thankful and looking forward to helping other wounded veterans to get the care that they need.
"We have a little boy, and just doing the little boy stuff with dad will be really cool for him," Ameen's wife, Stephanie, said.
Compared to what he's been through, the surgeons call Tuesday's procedure easy.
The doctors said they are looking forward to hopefully helping more wounded veterans who are in situations like Ameen's.