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Disabled Army vet, trooper share inspiration with PA students

Inspiration (Nick Youngson/Alpha Stock Images)

Decorated Army veteran Earl Granville and wounded state Trooper Alex Douglass shared their bad days with Scranton School District students.

Granville lost his leg while serving in Afghanistan. Douglass was shot and critically wounded during a 2014 sniper attack on the Blooming Grove state police barracks.

“Heavy stuff, right?” Granville asked. “I feel like I got lucky.”

They presented “Operation Enduring Warrior” on Monday at the Electric City Academy, the district’s alternative and special education school. They discussed their individual struggles and how they overcame those bad days. The presentation focused on turning negative situations into positive situations.

Granville lost two friends and his left leg when a roadside bomb exploded in June 2008. It could have been worse, he said, and felt optimistic during his recovery.

After returning to the area, the Scott Twp. resident was getting his life back on track when his brother, Joe Granville, whom he followed into the military, committed suicide in 2010.

Granville went into a downward spiral, but memories of his brother helped change his life.

“I thought if Joe was proud of me then, would he be now?” he said.

He stopped internalizing what happened to him and started reaching out to people. Granville also joined organizations that helped him be a part of a team again.

Granville, a Republican, announced last week he is running for the 8th Congressional District in 2020, hoping to unseat fourth-term U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, a Moosic Democrat. Other candidates so far are Luzerne County Councilman Harry Haas, 44, a Republican and Dallas middle school teacher who lives in Kingston, and Teddy Daniels, a former security company owner, who promotes himself as a wounded Afghanistan war veteran, pro-Trump, conservative Republican.

On Monday, Granville urged the students to find their purpose and passion and find something to be a part of.

Douglass brought along his new 1½-year-old service dog, Peter Tare Valor. He received the golden retriever this month from an organization in Tampa, Florida. The dog’s vest is made from the shirt of state police Lt. Brian Vennie, who helped save Douglass on Sept. 12, 2014.

“I wanted to heal physically, not mentally,” he said. “If you’re having a bad day, talk to someone.”

Douglass, of Olyphant, was on duty when Eric Matthew Frein ambushed the Pike County barracks in 2014, injuring him and killing Cpl. Bryon. K. Dickson II of Dunmore. Frien, of Canadensis, was convicted of first-degree murder and other charges in April 2017 and sentenced to death.

After 20 major surgeries to help heal gunshot-related injuries, Douglass had his right leg amputated from the knee down last year. He said he plans to return to work.

Both Granville and Douglass wear green and black blade prosthetics.

“The kids respect what they’ve been through,” said Clint Davis, academy team leader.


© 2019 The Times-Tribune