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An Iraq War Veteran’s Story

Published Date: Nov 9, 2014

Second chances in life are not something we all get. But for those who do, every breath and every creation on earth takes on a new meaning. Greg Archer, an Iraq War veteran living in Castle Rock, Colorado is among those. In August 2008, Greg was serving as a Senior Combat Medic in Iraq. During what they thought was an easy mission, driving through a market in Iraq, his combat patrol’s vehicle was ambushed. Greg sustained traumatic brain injuries and damage to his heart, and was declared 100% disabled as a result just three years later. Although he was from California, he retired from the Army out of Fort Carson, Colorado, and decided to permanently stay there. He believes this decision saved his life. Just two years after settling in his home in Castle Rock, Greg was driving home with his son in the car while his future wife Andrea had just left him to go to work. When he got home, he left his sleeping son asleep in the car, doors wide open, and started to water his lawn. Suddenly, he went into cardiac instant death syndrome which caused him to collapse in his yard and should have ended his life. To Greg, yet another miracle occurred in his life as his neighbor that day decided to take a longer route home from work and got home at a time when he was able to see Greg unconscious on the lawn. Inside his house visiting was a nurse and an anesthesiologist who quickly came to his aid and called an ambulance which took him to a hospital nearby that had just opened six days earlier. More miracles happened over the next few days that defied all odds. Greg was given less than one percent chance to live and over the next few days family was called in several times to say their “goodbyes” as people don’t usually survive simultaneous heart attack, kidney failure, pneumonia, blood transfusions, coma, and more. But he did. And was nicknamed the “The Miracle Man” from his hospital staff. Greg and Andrea both attribute his survival to the many prayers and faith of their friends and to miracles that few can explain. On August 23, seventeen days after collapsing in his yard, Greg walked out of Porter Hospital in Denver, CO and started his life anew. Says Greg, “On the drive home, it was if I had new eyes. The colors were extremely vibrant to me, like everything had been photoshopped. We had a new appreciation for life, Colorado, and the spirit of the Colorado people. How lucky we are to live in such a great place.” System Pavers met Greg through the Helping Hands Outreach for wounded warriors and was so touched by his story, that System Pavers donated an outdoor walkway and patio deck for him and his family. As Adam Massman, System Pavers' lead design consultant on the project says, “Building a deck for Greg to view the nature he feels blessed to be alive to enjoy is a small way we can give back to someone who gave up so much to serve our country.” Our entire staff thanks Greg for his service and for the lesson he teaches us to enjoy all the beauties of our world daily, never taking anything for granted.

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