By Pamela Brownstein
When James Wesley Colman III was growing up, he always looked up to his dad, Jim, a veteran who spent more than 20 years in the Marine Corps.
So when James, who goes by Jimmy, decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the Marines, he said, “I knew better than 99% of the other people what I was getting into.”
Even though he had been around Marines his entire life, Jimmy, 26, had to experience first-hand the reality of being deployed and what it means to protect his country.
He started boot camp in March 2011, and by December his unit was sent to a small base in Helmand Province in Afghanistan.
While on patrol there in February of this year, he was shot in the leg by enemy fire. What Jimmy calls “a routine gun shot,” the bullet went straight through his calf, and after two surgeries, he was on the mend. After a month in the hospital, instead of going home or back to the U.S., he returned to his platoon.
“I had already made it clear that I wanted to go back to my base. I didn’t want to leave, really,” he said.
But last week, after serving out his tour and being awarded the Purple Heart, Jimmy was able to come home to Lady’s Island.
He said the most important thing he learned while away was a greater appreciation for his family and friends, and not to take them for granted.
His dad Jim, who owns the landscaping company Lawn Solutions, threw a party for his son’s homecoming that included a DJ,
an inflatable slip n’ slide, and a caterer serving barbecue, something Jimmy craved while he was away.
Jimmy cites his dad as the person who has inspired him most in his life.
“He’s always been a role model and supported us in whatever we did,” he said.
But Jimmy’s bravery and dedication to his unit serve as an inspiration to his community and to everyone who stands for freedom this holiday weekend.