Photo Information

Woodbury, Minn., recruiter Sgt. Brandon Blazer, 27, from Dayton, Ohio, visits with Cathy and Gregg Patnode April 27 after their son, Luke, underwent reconstructive surgery. Luke is a 14-year-old eighth grader at Lake Middle School. Marines with Recruiting Station Twin Cities also visited Luke in 2010 after he suffered a major stroke. Luke's parents told Blazer that their son has wanted to join the Corps since he was a little kid.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook

Eighth grader receives hospital visit from Woodbury recruiter

4 May 2012 | Staff Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook 9th Marine Corps District

Luke Patnode received an unexpected hospital visit from the local recruiting office after undergoing reconstructive surgery recently. 

A Woodbury, Minn., recruiter stopped by the Minneapolis Children’s Hospital to motivate the aspiring Marine and wish him a speedy recovery.

"This kid wants nothing more than to be a Marine so taking a few minutes to visit him was the least I could do," said Sgt. Brandon Blazer, 27, from Dayton, Ohio. "He's the type of applicant we're looking for; someone who fights through adversity with a positive attitude."

Luke, who enters high school this year, spent more than seven hours in surgery to improve his mobility.

“I was shocked, because I didn't expect them to show up,” the 14-year-old said. “They encouraged me to get well as soon as possible.”

Marines with Recruiting Station Twin Cities first met Luke two years ago when he suffered a major stroke. 

"Once they walked in he straightened his posture,” said Luke’s father, Gregg Patnode. “It helped give him the strength to overcome the pain he was going through.”

After his initial stroke in 2010, Luke was partially blind, unable to sit-up, walk, talk or move his right side.

“During the tough times, I remember him telling me in tears ‘I don't work and can't be a Marine.’ That was his low point in the hospital,” Gregg said. “His attitude quickly changed once the Marines stopped by.”  

Gregg also said it was very uplifting to see his son focus on the future during rehab after watching him in such pain.

“He was told to go up one flight up stairs and he went up ten,” Gregg said. “The therapist had to stop him, because he was working himself to exhaustion.”

Luke’s father also said Blazer's visit had a similar effect as his son wanted to stop taking his pain medication and start physical therapy right away.

“When my time on active duty concludes, it'll be a lot easier letting go knowing that the ranks of the Marine Corps are filled with guys like him,” Blazer said.

9th Marine Corps District