GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Retired Marine Sgt. Anthony McDaniel was badly wounded in Afghanistan in 2010, losing both legs and part of an arm. The Gautier native has a Thanksgiving message that speaks volumes about his character.
"I'm first thankful and very grateful for just being here. Secondly, I'm grateful and thankful for my kids, my family, my friends. I'm thankful for life and everything that it has to offer," McDaniel said.
Despite his injuries, he's a strong superb athletic, winning seven gold medals at the recent warrior games in Colorado. The IED explosion built something else up as well.
"It made me more mentally strong. I was mentally strong before, but I think all around for me to analyze things, it made me use my brain a lot more," McDaniel explained.
He has some advice for others facing adversity in their own lives.
"It's okay to be disappointed or to be down, but don't keep yourself there. Because if you do, it just goes from one bad experience into the negative. Life still goes on. You can't let one bad problem or one bad move determine how your future will be," McDaniel said.
McDaniel is not done yet.
"I want to enroll in college in the fall of next year and I want to finish my accounting degree, and from there I want to start off with a couple of small businesses, a car wash, a barber shop."
The Gautier High graduate has not forgotten his roots.
"It means everything to me. The school, the community, it's my family," McDaniel exclaimed.
His body has changed no doubt, but so has his outlook on life.
"I think I complained a lot more before the accident and now I'm seeing everything is not that bad because it can go from bad to worse so you've got to enjoy it while you can. It's too short not to," McDaniel advised.
McDaniel is now retired from the Marines and is the father of three young children. He currently lives in California.