Bay County Hero Returns Home to Panama City Beach - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Bay County Hero Returns Home to Panama City Beach

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Sergeant Carter Hess doesn't want medals, but now that he has one he says he would do it all over again.

"It's never, 'I didn't deserve this' or ya know 'What did I sign up to get myself into this situation,' because everyone that goes over there knows what they can end up with," said Hess.  

What he ended up with was a prosthetic leg from about the mid shin down.  

"Most people who you do encounter that will have lost something or sacrificed in any way will always tell you 'At least it wasn't the guy behind me or the guy in front of me,'" said Hess. "If they were going to have it happen to anyone, they would always rather have it happen to them.

"And that is the bondness that you share on the line."

Hess served time on the line with the 82nd Airborne Division during two tours in the Middle East. A job he would go back to if it weren't for his injury, one he sustained after stepping on an improvised explosive device during his second tour in Afghanistan.

"You know you have that idea in your head," said Hess. "But, you're not quite 100% sure of what just happened."

Hess is now back home on Panama City Beach. He has a new dog and it seems he's followed his families footsteps.

"Well, ever since I was young we've been at war," said Hess. "I think I was in the 5th grade when 9/11 happened and it seems like, in my family especially, if your country was at war, one of you needed to go."

And so he did, but now that he's back home he doesn't look at his handicap as crippling his life.

"I don't feel as though it's taking away from my life," said Hess. "I feel like it's opening doors that I never thought I would open in the first place."

As for plans for the future, Carter says he will finish his medical evaluation board and look toward school and the future.

"Get old with a rocking chair," said Hess. "That sounds like a good plan. Maybe slow down life for a bit for a few years.

"Not always be going somewhere."

Carter Hess is currently volunteering at Naval Support Activity as a part of the Army's accountability program and will soon attend a week long class in central Florida in Orlando.