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Soldier hurt in Iraq is injured in accident

May 22, 2003|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

A Clear Spring-area soldier who was injured in a land mine explosion last month in Iraq has been hospitalized because of injuries she sustained in a car accident on Tuesday.

U.S. Army Reserve Pvt. Amy Shirk, 23, broke her left leg and ankle in a three-car crash Tuesday on National Pike.

"I'm all right. Just say a prayer," Shirk said in a telephone interview Wednesday from her bed at Washington County Hospital, where she was listed in fair condition.

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Amy Shirk said she and her father, Jay Shirk, had just picked up some steaks for the grill when the accident occurred in front of the New Del-Mar Inn at about 5 p.m.

An ambulance rushed them both to the hospital, where she had surgery to place a metal rod in her leg from her knee to her hip.

Jay Shirk's injuries were less severe and he was released from the hospital Wednesday morning.

Bonnie Shirk said she was relieved that her daughter and her husband were not more seriously injured.

"It's sad, but they were both very lucky. You see that car and you wonder how anyone got out of there," Bonnie Shirk said.

The black Dodge Neon that Amy Shirk bought three weeks before she was called up for active duty had to be towed away.

Amy Shirk's left leg was injured in the car accident. Last month, it was her right leg that was injured in Iraq.

On April 21, the ammunition specialist was approaching the front of a convoy when a land mine exploded about 10 feet in front of her.

The blast sent her flying backwards and she landed on her right leg so hard that she suffered torn tendons and a serious ankle sprain.

She still had been using crutches, but her sprain had nearly healed, she said Wednesday.

She sounded groggy because of the medication doctors gave her to control the pain, Bonnie Shirk said.

Amy Shirk went into basic training about a year after she graduated from Clear Spring High School in 1997.

She joined the Reserves and began working at the PetSmart Warehouse, all the while living with her parents and volunteering with the Clear Spring Fire Department.

Members of her Reserve unit, based in Greencastle, Pa., were called to active duty on Feb. 7.

Family members said they weren't sure how long she will be hospitalized.

Questions remained about health insurance and whether she'll be able to continue her military career with a metal rod in her leg.

Bonnie Shirk said her daughter was worried about her new car.

"I told her a car can be replaced," she said.

The important thing is that Amy Shirk is alive after two close calls in one month, her mother said.

"She's got guardian angels, let me tell you," Bonnie Shirk said.

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