Iraqi veteran continues to fight for fellow soldiers at home

DENVER -- September 11, 2001 was a day that changed Ian Newland's life forever. His first reaction were thoughts of duty.

He raised his right arm and swore an oath to the United States and the U.S. Army. His life would never be the same.

He eventually wound up in Charlie Company, 126, United States Army First Infantry Division, the Big Red One.

"Our job was to learn to shoot and to shoot well and to close with and destroy the enemy," he said.

That they did.

But on Dec. 4, 2004 in Baghdad, Iraq, something else happened that changed Newland's life.

"An enemy fighter came off a third story rooftop and threw a hand grenade at my gunner," he said. "He attempted to catch it and deflect it but it fell down inside our vehicle."

That's when 19-year-old Ross McGinnis jumped on the explosive, giving his life to save the others.

"He died a short time after in my arms," Newland said.

Now, back home after countless surgeries and rehabilitation, Newland continues to fight for his fellow soldiers, in part, by running in the Memorial Day Run and March put on by the Colorado Veteran's Project.

It's a 5K, 10K and 30K race to help feed local homeless veterans.

"I'll be running in honor of Ross McGinnis and also be running in honor of all the soldiers we lost from Charlie Company 126," Newland said.

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