Josie Cary, mother of 19-year-old Marine Lance Cpl. Dan Cary, said over the weekend that her son is continuing to improve, and had been fully taken off oxygen and had his intravenous (IV) tubes removed Saturday while continuing to recover at the Shands Medical Center in Jacksonville.
That’s where he was rushed on March 24 after being shot with an M16 rifle while on duty and preparing for a security drill at Kings Bay (Ga.) Naval Submarine Base, where he has been stationed.
According to his family, Cary was accidentally shot in the back when one Marine was handing the M16 to another and the weapon discharged. The bullet penetrated his body and exited his abdomen, his mother said, causing damage to his spleen and several other internal injuries.
A Corps spokesman, Capt. Stewart Coles, has confirmed that Cary was shot “while preparing for a security drill.” But the Marines have not provided further details regarding the incident other than to say that it remains under investigation.
Josie Cary said Saturday that her son is battling some infection, is still “very weak” and continues to use a walker around his room and the hospital. But he is getting up and is able to walk each day, a significant step forward, she said. After undergoing three surgeries after the shooting, Dan Cary was transferred out of the medical center’s Intensive Care Unit late on March 28.
“There’s been a big improvement,” said Josie Cary — who, along with Dan’s father, also named Dan, have been with their son since flying to Jacksonville the day after the incident. She said both of their employers — she works at Gloucester’s Golden Living care center, he is with a Rockport-based trucking company — “have been great” in granting them time to tend to their son’s needs.
Josie Cary said her son is also looking forward to returning to Cape Ann for what would be a convalescent leave from the Marines.
“It would be good for him to get home — and good for him to be able to say ‘thank you’ to people in person,” she said.
Josie Cary has said that she and others have found the support from her son’s fellow Marines and from friends, relatives “and people we don’t even know” on Cape Ann to be “overwhelming.”
That has included moral support through cards and Facebook messages that her son has been reading regularly; anyone looking to wish Dan Cary well can continue to do so through posting with the hashtag, “#DanStrong.”
Also, the financial support for the family’s travel expenses and added medical costs continues to grow. A GoFundMe account set up by friends is approaching the$7,000 mark, said Tina Russell of Rockport, who is Josie’s sister and Dan Cary’s aunt.
Meanwhile, The Gloucester Fund continues to accept donations for the Cary family for those who wish to make a tax-deductible contribution.
Anyone wishing to go that route may send a check to The Gloucester Fund, 45 Middle St., Gloucester, MA 01930. Contributors must include the name “Dan Cary” in the memo section to ensure that funds get directed to the proper account, said Gloucester Fund chief Barry Pett. All of the proceeds received will be forwarded directly to the Cary family, he said.
Josie Cary said that Adam Curcuru of the Gloucester Veterans Services has also reached out to the family. And she noted that one of the personal contributors to the Dan Cary GoFundMe account has a familiar name: Seth Moulton, the new 6th District congressman who is a former who served multiple tours in Iraq.
“I guess it’s like they say, once a Marine always a Marine,” Josie Cary said in expressing gratitude for Moulton’s donation. “They (the Marines) really are a family — an amazing family.”
By Ray Lamont, Gloucester Daily Times, Mass.