Carlisle veteran receives Purple Heart 13 years after traumatic brain injury in Iraq

Carlisle/West Shore

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – The Purple Heart is awarded to those who were wounded or killed while serving our country. A Carlisle man received that honor Wednesday, more than a decade after his life was changed by an IED in Iraq.

Sgt. David Ott says when you go to war, you bring war home with you, and that’s certainly the case for him. Thirteen years after a traumatic brain injury, his sacrifice was honored at the Carlisle VFW.

“This is to certify that the President of the United States of America has awarded the Purple Heart,” said Commander Rick Olsen, a U.S. Army Veterans Ambassador.

Ott says he spent 23 years in the U.S. military, both active and in the National Guard.

“Fully prepared for it,” said Command Sgt. Major Michael Carden of the U.S. Army. “Very well trained combat medic, one of the more important jobs.”

That ended when he got a traumatic brain injury from a roadside bomb in Iraq 13 years ago. So did his 16-year career with the Allentown Police Department.

The dad moved his family to Carlisle. He knew his injury was bad, but it got worse.

“I went stiff as a board in my first day at Disney with my family and dropped to the ground and ended up in nearly a six-week coma, on life support,” said Ott.

Ott is still recovering but takes medicine to prevent seizures and to control his blood pressure. He calls his service dog Sarge his “battle buddy. “

“He helps me with mobility and stability,” Ott said. “He helps me with balance issues.”

The ceremony for Ott was part of an Old Warriors luncheon, which is a regular event at the post where Cedar Cliff junior ROTC students serve food and spend time with veterans from local nursing homes.

It’s a tradition Ott hopes continues.

“I think honoring them for their services is very important,” he said.

Ott says what’s next for him is spending time with his wife, two daughters and two granddaughters.

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