Media Archive

Local man honored for service with Purple Hearts

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 166, No. 45, November 10, 2004

By Mike Welldon
Staff Writer

MILO "He's a hero. He epitomizes the very definition of a hero," Abby Dawson said of her husband, Keith.

Cpl. Keith Dawson recently returned from Iraq with more than just memories: he came back with two Purple Hearts. Dawson, 21, formerly of Guilford, was the central figure in a Milo town celebration this past weekend that featured a parade through downtown and a reception at American Legion Post No. 41.

Dawson, who was injured twice while serving for seven months in Iraq, received his medals after the Humvee convoy he was riding in was hit by roadside bombs on two seperate occasions. Although he received shrapnel wounds both times, Dawson said the second attack was much serious.

"I opened my eyes to make sure I was still alive. It knocked me out," he said. The shrapel had flown through an open window of the Humvee and lodged itself into the left side of Dawson's face. Fellow Marines returned Dawson to the base where he underwent prompt medical treatment. A piece of shrapnel still sits under his skin as a testament to what happened.

Dawson is stationed in Camp Lejeune, N.C. where he and his wife, Abby, a recent college graudate, bought a house during his deployment. Abby and Keith were married earlier this year in January.

"There's just so many "I love yous' and 'I miss yous' that you can say. I'm so glad he's home," she said.

The young couple kept in touch mainly through e-mail while Dawson was overseas. "We were so fortunate to be able to talk at least once a day over the computer," Abby said.

Dawson added, "Morale was low over there at times. Knowing that an email was waiting for you helped out a lot."

Emotions ran high at the Legion as Dawson's reception got under way. Tears welled up in the eyes of Keith's mother, Debbie, after Legion members joined in singing "God Bless America."

"I'm just so proud of him," she said.

The reception lasted from 2-4 p.m. and featured many Legion and community members. Among them, Sen. Paul Davis who came to extend his thanks to Dawson for his military service.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.