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WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 20, 2013, 10:15 AM

Wounded Warrior donation ties 3 men together

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Tonight, a fascinating story about coincidence and helping a veteran through the Wounded Warrior Project. A North Dakota Rancher who wanted to say thanks to our veterans ended up with an amazing small world story. It involves a wounded hero from the Iraq war, a shotgun, and a surprise ending.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Tonight, a fascinating story about coincidence and helping a veteran through the Wounded Warrior Project. A North Dakota Rancher who wanted to say thanks to our veterans ended up with an amazing small world story. It involves a wounded hero from the Iraq war, a shotgun, and a surprise ending.

For Kulm rancher Ed Melroe, it all started when he picked up Beef Magazine.

Ed Melroe – Kulm, ND: “The Lord just reached out and touched my heart.”

He saw a story about a nonprofit group that helps set up hunting trips for injured veterans. In this case, a story about Matt Keil, injured in 2007 in Iraq by a sniper's bullet; an injury that has left him paralyzed.

Ed Melroe: “Sergeant Keil had gone to Texas, on a turkey hunt in his wheelchair, and Keil was trying to convince his wife that he wanted a shotgun.”

So this rancher, after reading about Keil, reached out to him and offered to donate his shotgun to him.

Ed Melroe: “When I asked him he’d take the shotgun that my dad gave me, he said, ‘Well, before I answer that I want to ask you a question.’ Then he said, ‘Do you have a son?’ I said, ‘Yes sir I do.’ He said, ‘Don't you want to give that gun to your son to keep it in the family?’ I said, ‘Well, my father left me two guns and my son is going to get one and I’d be honored if you would take the other.’”

Soon, Ed Melroe's family heard about the story. It eventually filtered down to Ed's nephew, David McMahon of West Fargo. David served two tours in Afghanistan, one in Iraq. As the facts of the injured soldier story sifted out, David realized he was in the same company as Army Staff Sergeant Keil. David was there that night he was shot.

David McMahon – Served in Iraq with Keil: “He was one of the best squad leaders in the company and arguably in the battalion. He was a great soldier. He was a great Staff Sergeant. He was leaned on and counted on to get things done.”

So it would be coincidence that his uncle, after reading a Beef Magazine article, would be part of Keil's life as well.

Ed Melroe: “It’s really a small world that he knew Sergeant Keil.”

David McMahon: “It is such a unique coincidence, and so when Uncle Ed asked me to come along, I thought it was just meant to be.”

The shotgun is headed to Colorado to Matthew Keil with Ed and David driving it out there together. The journey continues…

Ed is paying for the shotgun to be cleaned and checked out, as well as gas out to Colorado. Anyone interested in helping offset those costs can contact the HomeTown Credit Union in Kulm, North Dakota.

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