Gautier Marine faces adversity with positive thoughts - - The News for South Mississippi

Gautier Marine faces adversity with positive thoughts


By Jeff Lawson – bio | email

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Marine Corporal Anthony McDaniel doesn't want anyone to feel sorry for him. Anthony is a Jackson County resident and Gautier High graduate, who joined the Marine Corp a few years ago.

In the summer of 2010, he stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in Afghanistan. He barely survived, and was left without both of his legs and his right hand.

"The thing is, I don't want people to feel sorry for me," Anthony said. "People come up to me and say, 'I am so sorry for what happened to you.' I am like, 'It's all right; I am not sorry about it, so I would not want you to be.'"

To understand why he feels that way, you have to know Anthony McDaniel. Keith McQueen knows him very well. He was Anthony's basketball coach at Gautier High.

"Anthony McDaniel is one of the finest young people I have ever been around," McQueen said. "If you are ever around him, he is so vibrant; even right now, it amazes me how vibrant he is with his energy and his positive outlook."

Coach McQueen said Anthony was the kind of basketball player who succeeds through hard work and dedication to the game.

In his senior year, Anthony received all district honors and was awarded a scholarship to a Junior College in Mississippi.

"Just a relentless hard worker, always wanted to be the best he could be," Coach McQueen said.

As for his feelings about Coach McQueen, Anthony said, "There is not a day that goes by that I don't thank coach McQueen for everything that he has done."

Because of the bond between these two men, it was hard when Coach McQueen saw his basketball star, the young man he thinks of as a son, in a wheelchair for the first time.

"I could not bring myself to have words. I walked up to him, and I just got down on my knee for a moment," Coach McQueen said. "I just could not hold back the tears because it is tough for me to see him like that."

Anthony remembers it as a silent moment.

"For a while, we just looked at one another," he said. "Emotions grew real strong."

Coach McQueen said that with the strength that Anthony has shown while facing such adversity, Anthony has taught him and so many others a lesson about dealing with whatever life may bring you.

"It's hard for me to control my emotions on that because this young man really defines what you would want in another human being and the type of kid you want to have around you, the type of person you want around you," Coach McQueen said.

Anthony is a quiet and humble young man. When we asked how his life has changed since the accident, he told us his life was blessed before, and it is still blessed.

Anthony said he was able to come home from Afghanistan and see his two small children and his wife. He realizes many of his fellow Marines never made it back home.

Doctors at Walter Reed, where Anthony is undergoing intense physical therapy, are very pleased with his progress, both physically and mentally. And remember, don't feel sorry for Anthony.

"I am fine with the way I am," Anthony said. "I just say this is another challenge. I like challenges, so it is just another challenge."

As for his future plans, Anthony plans to remain in the Marines. He even hopes to be coaching basketball one day. Suffice to said, Anthony McDaniel is a very impressive young man with a bright future ahead of him.

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