While driving to Walter Reed Military Hospital to take care of his own medical exam, former Secretary of State and retired four-star general Colin Powell received a reaffirming roadside surprise.
In a post shared on Secretary Powell’s Facebook page, he said he was driving on I-495 when his left front tire blew out. Declaring himself “a car guy,” he pulled over and began the process of changing his tire. After getting the car lifted on a jack, the cold made the lug bolts tight and difficult to remove. As Powell was in the process of removing the tire, a car pulled up in front of him.
“As the man got out of his car, I could see that he had an artificial leg,” Powell said in his post. “He said he recognized me and wanted to help me.”
The man who stopped turned out to be on his way to Walter Reed as well, Powell said online. The man, Anthony Maggert, said he had lost his leg while working in Afghanistan as a civilian employee. Maggert picked up the lug wrench and finished changing out the tire as Powell cleaned up the remaining tools. The two posed for a selfie, then both rushed off to the hospital to make their appointments. Powell didn’t wind up getting Maggert’s name or address during the encounter, but then a heartfelt message found its way to the former top commander.
“Gen. Powell, I hope I never forget today because I’ll never forget reading your books,” Maggert said in a message Powell shared. “You were always an inspiration, a leader, and statesman. After 33 years in the military you were the giant whose shoulders we stood upon to carry the torch to light the way and now it is tomorrow’s generation that must do the same.”
Powell seemed particularly touched by Maggert's actions and words, sharing his own generous regards to his fellow veteran.
“Thanks Anthony. You touched my soul and reminded me about what this country is all about and why it is so great,” Powell said. “Let’s stop screaming at each other. Let’s just take care of each other. You made my day.”