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Thursday, August 21, 2008

It was wonderful to hear from him: A social networking site for a wounded Iraq veteran

Anna Carncross set up a CaringBridge web site for her uncle, Army Sgt. 1st Class Chris Blaxton. The 46-year-old soldier from Okemos, Mich., was severely injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq in October.

He was airlifted to Germany and wound up at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington a few days later.

"We didn’t necessarily want anyone and everyone to be able to read about Chris but wanted all of his friends and family to be able to visit the site as often as they wanted," Anna said. "When Chris first got hurt, there were phone calls and e-mails going everywhere and it was impossible to make sure that everyone was updated." She said posting on the site saved time for the family so they could take care of Chris, his wife, Sabine, and their four children.

"It was also a way that everyone could reach out to Chris by leaving comments for him to read," Anna said. "It kept everyone up to date on Chris’ progress. Once he was able to, he started to update the page himself and it was wonderful to hear from him."

In June, a large homecoming was held for Chris at Okemos High School.

Advice for family members: Keep your friends and family posted by using a free web site like this one.

Read about a similar personal health networking website.

Thanks to Vince Little for the source story in the July 18 issue of Stars and Stripes.

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