Henderson County marine badly injured in Iraq
By Don Wallace

Through the wringing hands and tear-filled eyes, the Goines' family pride shines like the bright Texas sun.

Donald and Denise Goines of Murchison are suffering through a time many parents fear, the news of their son, Donnie, being injured during an explosion in Iraq.

"I just want him home!" Denise Goines said from her Athens hospital bed Thursday, her voice cracking with emotion. "We are so proud of him and can't wait to see his face."

Mrs. Goines is being treated for cardiac problems, the condition worsened by the recent news her only son was hurt overseas. She's impatient to be released from the hospital so she can visit her son.

Marine Lance Cpl. Donnie Goines received first, second and third degree burns on his arms, legs and face. The truck the 21-year-old Marine was driving in a night convoy was the victim of a road side bomb Tuesday. The result of the blast left several servicemen hurt on the roadside near Falluja. Lance Cpl. Goines is currently listed in critical condition in an U.S. Medical Hospital in Frankfort, Germany. He is awaiting transfer for specialized burn treatment in San Antonio.

"He drives a seven-ton truck, that is what he calls it," Mrs. Goines said. "It's what he wanted to do. He wanted to be part of the action on the front line."

Mrs. Goines son, a 2002 graduate of Brownsboro High School, volunteered for the Marines right out of high school. He had already served in the Marines at Carswell Air Force base in Fort Worth. But when the fighting escalated recently he volunteered for active service. Goines even took extra training to become certified to drive the heavy duty military transport.

"He was in the Marine reserve and going to TVCC and working for SMS Computers," Mr. Goines said. "Then he volunteered to go over and be part of the fighting in Iraq. He's a fourth generation Marine and it's what he wanted, he requested the front line."

Mr. Goines said, "A Goines has been in every war since World War II, all in the Marines. My son has been saying he wanted to be in the Marines his whole life. The teacher wrote down in second grade in school at Murchison he wanted to join the Marine Corps. Not many of the other kids have followed through with what they wanted to do, but Donnie has."

Mr. Goines was in the Marines, so were his two brothers during the Vietnam era.

"We're still in shock that he was hurt," Mr. Goines said. "We got the phone call and it hit us hard. All I could remember them saying is that our son was hurt, but he was alive."

Mrs. Goines said, "We had gotten a call from Donnie just last week. He was so proud of what he was doing. He said the U.S. troops were making a difference building schools and helping feed the people. He had been there about a month, he said he felt safe and had a full set of body armor."

"The body armor he was wearing helped save his life," Mr. Goines chimed in. "He was wearing all the armor he had and it really helped protect him."

Mrs. Goines said she shared her son's optimism about the conditions in Iraq, but was still worried for his safety.

"I was worried about the road side bombs, that was even before I knew he was hurt," Mrs. Goines said. "I know how bad it is over there.We support President Bush and the fighting in Iraq. We know Donnie and the other Americans over there are doing the right thing."

Mrs. Goines, an employee of Gould Insurance Agency of Athens, also works for Mary Ann Perryman. She said the family has been bolstered by support and prayers of friends and family. Donnie's sister, Jennifer, is a registered nurse working in Dallas.

"We have had so many prayers for us and our family, I know they have helped," Mrs. Goines said. "I feel the support people have had for us. The people at our church First Baptist Church of Murchison have just been great. My employers also have been very supportive."

Mr. Goines said the pressure of being the strong, silent Marine dad has been hard, but he continues to support his wife and family.

"She's recovering from heart problems, so I have to be strong," Mr. Goines said. "I am supportive and positive, but it has been tough. The daddy can't always show the way he is feeling. God has a plan for everybody and we have to understand that."

Mrs. Goines added, "I will feel much better when I get to see my son again.As soon as I get released from the hospital, we will be going to San Antonio. If I can just see my boy, I will be OK. I can't wait to get him back."

"I'm proud of what he is doing, Donnie always wanted to be a Marine, he wouldn't have it any other way," Mr. Goines said.