Purple Heart recipient honored by church
Published: Monday, July 2, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07
SUGAR LAND, Texas — Purple Heart recipient Lance Cpl. Steven May was honored Sunday evening at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Star-Spangled Sing-Along.
May, sophomore industrial distribution major, joined the Marine Corps in September 2005, serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
May is a third-generation Marine and said he was called to serve following the Sept. 11 attacks.
“At 15, when 9/11 hit, that’s when I [realized] this is what I want to do…9/11 was the day that it turned for me,” he said. “That’s the day I decided I needed to stand up and fight for my country.”
He was deployed to Iraq in January 2007 and in April 2007, he and other members of his platoon suffered injuries while guarding a highway overpass that became the target of a suicide bomber. May suffered broken shoulders, fractured ribs and two collapsed lungs.
“I spent a year-and-a-half in the hospital. I had to learn how to walk again, how to use my shoulder. But it was the easiest year-and-a-half of my life. You tell a Marine to go do something and he’s going to get it done to the best of his abilities.”
May said he found out he’d be honored at the Star-Spangled Sing-Along about an hour before the event.
“I thought I was coming to speak on behalf of Impact a Hero and it turns out, I was going to be presented with this honor. It’s very humbling. I don’t think I deserve it, but other folks disagree,” he said.
May’s appearance was arranged by Impact a Hero, a not-for-profit organization created to support wounded veterans post 9/11.
Impact a Hero supported May while he was in the hospital and he now speaks on behalf of the organization.
Retired Lt. Col. and former Judge Willie Blackmon, Class of 1973, attended the event to honor May. Blackmon said May’s service is a testament to this nation’s greatness.
May said, “The word, ‘love’ you really don’t associate with Independence Day or the 4th of July. But love is what drives this country. I love this country. It fires me up.”
May said the transition to Texas A&M University from the Marine Corps was hard.
“Coming back out of high school, I forgot a lot and it’s been difficult. Dealing with all the things, both mentally and physically, has been a struggle… But the camaraderie and fellowship at A&M is like the Marine Corps.”
Ken Barrow, president of the Houston Texas South Stake of the Church said, “Every year we want to represent and honor a veteran. May represents not only himself and the service he provided to his country but all those who served.