Iraq War vet Tony Porta, horribly burned in roadside bomb blast, finds love and a family
NY Daily News: Tony Porta, burned beyond recognition by a roadside bomb, sees the Iraq War every time he looks in the mirror.
But when the U.S. Marine corporal looks at his wife, he sees love. “She didn’t care about my wounds,” Porta told CBS News of his beloved Daisy. “She cares about me in the inside.”
The brave U.S. vet met Daisy after suffering horrible burns to 35 percent of his body when his Humvee drove over an improvised explosive device in Al Asad, Iraq, on May 5, 2007, according to Operation Mend.
“I saw my body just burned,” Porta, who was 20 at the time, told CBS. “I saw my skin melting. It was like a hot candle.”
The blast killed his two best friends, Charles Palmer and Kenneth Mack, whom Porta says saved his life. “They were telling me to get up,” Porta recalled. “They were (dead) yes, but they were there. They were.”
He spent long, harrowing days in a burn unit before finally deciding to confront his appearance. “I couldn’t recognize myself,” he said. “I saw scars, I saw blood. I didn’t have lips, my nose was missing, my ears were gone. That day I felt, ‘How can I live like this?’
“I said to myself, ‘Who’s gonna love me? Who’s gonna, who’s gonna love me the way I look right now?'”
Porta has undergone 128 surgeries to repair the burn damage — a harrowing process made bearable once Daisy walked into his life.
The couple has since married and now has a son. “I named him Kenneth Charles in memory of my two friends, Kenneth and Charles,” Porta said. “They saved my life and now they will be remembered forever.”
Porta lives with his wife and baby in his childhood home. He has stopped undergoing surgeries temporarily in favor of being around for his family.
Porta said he knows many feel pity for him. “But they don’t realize that this poor guy has a beautiful wife, a handsome son, a beautiful family,” he added.
Loves a happy ending!
To donate to Operation Mend, go here.