HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- For injured veterans, coming back home is the first step in what's often a long road to recovery. Founded in Virginia in 2002, the Wounded Warrior project is a non-profit group helping service men and women on that road to recovery.
Today's WSAZ Hometown Hero is not only a veteran himself, but a mighty contributor -- in a very personal way -- to wounded warriors.
Garrick Pridemore is Semper Fi all the way. "Physical injuries or not, I don't think anyone returns from war uninjured." With four years in the U.S. Marines, Garrick knows a thing or two about staying in shape. He recently had a chance to put his physical fitness and Marine Corps skills to the test.
The Tough Mudder contest is known as the toughest event on the planet. Developed by British Special Forces, these competitions are held all over the world.
Among the thousands of participants running, climbing and sliming more than ten miles through the Virginia event last month, Garrick and his team mate finished in the top five percent.
"You're crawling through mud. You're uphill. You're crawling through ice-cold water. You're running," Garrick recalls it all, his eyes lighting up as he tells the story.
Over the last year and a half, the Tough Mudder events have raised nearly two and a half million dollars for the Wounded Warrior Project. That explains why so many of the people taking part are active duty military or veterans, like Garrick. All of the sweat, blood and sheer exhaustion serve a purpose -- that's very personal.
"You just have to dig deep and realize this is easy compared to what the guys are going through overseas, my fellow veterans," says Garrick. "In a couple of hours, it will all be over and I'll be going home. They can't say the same."
Garrick's commitment is no surprise to his co-workers at the Veteran's Home in Barboursville. They see it all the time.
Stacy Brown, administrator at the home says the six months Garrick has worked at the home have been wonderful. "I can see in his attitude, and the fact that he goes above and beyond, that it makes a difference. He brings that positive energy, that happiness and joy to the workplace, and it ultimately helps the veterans."
Humble to the end, we had to surprise Garrick with some well deserved recognition, presenting him with a simple certificate for some very hard work. Making fellow Marines and all warriors very proud -- Garrick Pridemore...this week's Hometown Hero.