Author Literary Journalism

Luke Murphy inspires in ‘Blasted by Adversity’

June 13, 2015

A Memoir
by Luke Murphy with Julie Bettinger

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Dennis Baker, Special to the Democrat
9:45 p.m. EDT June 13, 2015

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”Blasted by Adversity” shows retired Army Staff Sergeant Luke Murphy as a model of how to heal and move on.

This is the real deal.

“Blasted by Adversity: The Making of a Wounded Warrior,” is by far the best account of one warrior’s trip to hell and back. My search is over for the map to give to those who suffer the wounds of war and desperately need someone like retired Army Staff Sergeant Luke Murphy to model how to heal and move on. He walks the walk in a humble and inspirational way. This book should be a part of every veteran’s transition back to life. I most strongly recommend this story to challenge and give hope to those who need it most. I can see it being gifted to all wounded warriors transitioning through Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to incentivize their journey.

Most significantly, I believe that this book will save some the lives of some who suffer with PTSD and are on the verge of giving up. That value alone makes this effort priceless.

The chemistry in this memoir by Luke Murphy and Julie Bettinger transforms the gift of firsthand experience in pain and healing back to a life worth living. They share the miracles of the medical teams, family, fraternity and service member support. They praise organizations like Homes for Our Troops, and people who constantly challenge severely wounded warriors to become whole again. It’s hard to imagine being such a mangled mess and then mastering marathons as Murphy did. In his words, “I’m not handicapped at all. I’m still competing, still sweating. I’m still in the game.” The best message we can give others is to never give up.

The story draws you in to consider what you might do if in Murphy’s world. A doctor recommends you have your second leg removed due to the severity of your wounds and needs your signature now. Luke hesitates and a few minutes later a nurse comes in and offers her thoughts that he should try to keep it. Tough decisions, but he has to write the story that, so to speak, ends well for him. Bettinger tugs at your heartstrings to articulate the level of pain that Murphy endured in his journey. She makes you understand the challenges as if you were there connected to Murphy during his transformation back to life.

In the words of retired General Stan McChrystal, former Commander U.S. and International Forces in Afghanistan: “Don’t look for tragedy. Read (“Blasted by Adversity”) to experience combat, courage, camaraderie, pain, and recovery.”

Murphy served two tours of duty with the Army’s storied 101st Airborne Division. He was medically retired in 2007 after being catastrophically wounded in an IED blast. Post-injury, he graduated from Florida State University, competed in marathons and continues to help veterans enjoy hunting and fishing. Luke is a keynote speaker and frequently gives talks on overcoming adversity. He is also a partner in Southern Land Realty.

Julie Strauss Bettinger is the author of a collection of essays and co-author of four books. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College in Baltimore and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida State University.

“Blasted by Adversity: the Making of a Wounded Warrior,” ISBN 978-1-941758-12-0, is available through all major booksellers and Amazon. The book can be found at The Bookshelf in Thomasville and Sweet Patina Gift Shop, 2030 Thomasville Road.

Dennis Baker is a retired Navy commander.

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