Wounded Warrior Project Double Amputee Speaks at Iona College Graduation
Andrew Kinard, US Marine Corps (Ret.) and Wounded Warrior Project board member delivers inspirational speech at undergraduate commencement
Kinard received an honorary degree at the ceremony, as did Sister Danielle Marie Baran, CR, recently retired past principal of Maria Regina High School, and New York Police Officer Lawrence De Primo, who gained international notoriety when he was photographed giving a homeless man with no shoes and blistered feet a pair of winter boots and socks.
Kinard, who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2005, deployed to the Al Anbar province of Iraq in 2006 as an infantry platoon commander. While leading a team of U.S. Marines on a routine foot patrol, an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded directly under his feet. Massive wounds to his stomach left Kinard in a coma for a month, and damage to his legs resulted in their subsequent amputation.
During Kinard's lengthy recovery he resolved to overcome his difficult circumstances. While awaiting medical retirement from the Marine Corps, he interned in the Office of Legislative Counsel at the Pentagon and has since served on the board of directors of Wounded Warrior Project, a national charity that works on behalf of veterans disabled Iraq and Afghanistan.
Kinard, a recipient of the Purple Heart, Navy Achievement Medal with Combat “V,” and the Combat Action Ribbon, recalled a humbling moment at his own graduation ceremony from the US Naval Academy when he tripped on the stage and stumbled into the graduation speaker, Commander in Chief, George W. Bush.
Kinard, who would next meet up with Bush at Walter Reed Hospital, went on to describe being injured on the battlefield and the complete strangers who he credits with saving his ife and making possible his recovery.
Currently completing a joint degree from Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School, Kinard was described by the school's President Joseph E. Nyre as “an extraordinary person who exemplifies the steadfast character of our students and embodies the spirit of Iona."