Derek McGinnis, a Social Work graduate student who wrote a book about his experiences with the pains of war in Iraq, will be a participant at the “Support Our Troops” information table program at California State University, Stanislaus on Tuesday, November 10. The “Thank a Veteran” booth will include a banner for people to sign and will be set up in the University’s Quad in front of the Vasche Library Building from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Author of the book “Exit Wounds,” in which he recalls his struggle for life after being seriously wounded during a 2004 suicide car bomber attack, the former Navy corpsman who was attached to a Marine combat unit is in his second year of the Master of Social Work program at CSU Stanislaus. He also works as a counselor at the Modesto Veterans Center and is actively involved in programs to raise awareness of the needs of veterans who are returning from the battlefront, particularly those who have been seriously injured.
McGinnis was in an ambulance rushing to the aid of a pair of wounded Marines in the battle for Fallujah when the vehicle was hit by a suicide driver in a car loaded with explosives. He suffered severe brain injuries, his left leg had to be amputated above the knee, his hands were seriously wounded, shrapnel pierced much of his body, including one eye, and he was burned over much of his body.
After returning to the United States and while recovering from his wounds, McGinnis received a visit from then President George W. Bush who personally presented him with his Purple Heart medal. McGinnis spent two years in recovery rehabilitating from his injuries, earned a bachelor’s degree, and focused on getting back into an active life that includes running and swimming.
McGinnis, who will participate in the Wednesday, November 11 Veterans Day Parade in downtown Modesto, now lives in Waterford with his wife, Andrea, and their two children.
His book, officially titled “Exit Wounds: A Survival Guide to Pain Management for Returning Veterans and Their Families,” touches on the chronic pain that many returning war veterans deal with and how it affects them and their families.