Merlin German, the son of immigrants, joined the United States Marine Corps in 2003, after his high school graduation. In 2005, the vehicle he was riding in was struck by an IED and he was burned over ninty-seven percent of his body.
This is an injury that few survive. German spent 17 months at the Brooke Army Medical Center before he was recovered enough to move to Fisher House in San Antonio. Burns like this are horribly painful, requiring that damaged tissue be scraped off the patient, debriding. In addition to burn care, he underwent over 40 surgeries, amputations and grafts.
“He beat all odds and then on top of that continued to serve as an inspiration and motivator for others,” said Dr. Evan Renz, a critical-care surgeon who treated German.
“It is very difficult to describe the sense of loss. He endeared himself to all he came in contact with. It’s really impossible to describe, except to say: Imagine the loss of dear family or friend.”
Renz remembers being impressed with German from the start. “This young man was clearly showing us signs he was going to fight through this from the very first minute,” he said.
“There was consensus he was going to be a someone who would probably break some of the previous expectations about survivability. If someone was going to survive, he was going to be that individual.”
Born in New York City, German moved to its suburbs as a teenager. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in September 2003, according to his charity’s Web site. He was medically retired four years later, the Defense Department said.
German had been stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that the state Capitol’s flags would be flown at half-staff in German’s honor, saying the sergeant’s “courage and unfailing loyalty serve as an inspiration to Americans everywhere.”
More than a year after Sgt. Merlin German nearly died in a roadside bombing in Iraq, his hands burned into nubs and his body in a wheelchair, he resolved to walk into his San Antonio church on his own two feet.
His mother, Lourdes German, who had been “his hands and feet” since that day in February 2005, worried but knew it would be so. “Everything he did, he did himself,” Lourdes German, 54, said. “That parish was just overjoyed. The pastor even stopped preaching to welcome Merlin.”
Her vigil over her son ended April 11, when German, 22, died unexpectedly in San Antonio after a surgery to graft skin onto his lip. “Even with pain in my heart, I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other,” she said.
Merlin had a vision to help burned children and their families. He wanted the foundation to be named Merlin’s Miracles.
After being burned over 97% of his body when a roadside bomb exploded under his vehicle in Iraq while fighting defending our freedom in the Global War on Terror. Merlin was flown to Brooke Army Medical Center where he was not expected to survive, but after over 9 months in the intensive care unit and over 100 surgeries later, he had clearly defied all odds. Merlin became known to everyone as the Miracle Man.
He touched the lives of everyone he met. He taught us strength, courage and unity. He loved children and was very proud uncle to his one year old niece.
The donations would be used to assist burned children and their families to take vacations, trips, outings or anything the families needed to make life a little easier. Merlin loved to travel and knew how difficult it was for him to endure long lines at amusement parks or the frustration of not being able to do certain things because of the heat or being able to go to certain places because of special transportation needed.
It was his dream to be able to grant these families their wishes no matter what the request was. The grants would not be limited to trips and outings but also to help the families in their own homes to make it more comfortable for the burn children.
Please visit the Merlin’s Miracles site.
The streets of Heaven have a new guard, Sgt. Merlin German USMC.