1When Marilyn Atkinson was handed her son’s Purple Heart, she filled up with pride and tears.  Her son Cory Woodstock gave it to his mother as a tribute and to show her his love.  “I want you to have this Mom,” Woodstock said. In that moment, his mother was humbled by such a gift, as she reminisced about all her son had endured to receive this priceless item.

Woodstock was a career Army man, making several trips to Iraq. “He volunteered to go the second time, telling me that he wanted to be there to save some kids lives,” Atkinson said. “He always had a dedication to others and was mindful of helping someone else.”

Atkinson went on to describe the day of his injury. Woodstock was a Specialist in the Army, teaching the specifics of gun use and using horses in the Iraq desert war. On that particular day in January 2007, he was a passenger in a truck convoy. An I.U.D. struck his truck, blowing the vehicle over and injuring many.

Atkinson explained, “My son would’ve died that day if it weren’t for an Arizona Indian man from his unit that was strong enough to pull him out. Cory had head, shoulder and upper body injuries. That man acted fast enough to successfully get my son out and I will always be grateful for that.”

The Purple Heart is an honorable token given to those injured in war. The certificate that accompanies the Purple Heart states that it was signed by Michael J. Terry, Brigadier General of the U.S. Army. Within the body of the document it reads that on Aug. 7, 1782 this tribute began with General George Washington.

The Purple Heart is a beautifully made piece, with a golden frame encasing a clear heart that houses a silhouette of George Washington. Atkinson treasures it as a representation to her son but also to the patriotism and sacrifice we should have toward this wonderful country.

Woodstock’s sister, Terri Woodstock, also a Hawthorne resident, is proud of the work her brother has done with the Army. Although her brother is drawing full benefits as a wounded soldier, he still acts as a liaison for veterans in the medical facility in Apache Junction, Ariz. where he currently resides.