Rockwall H.S. grad injured in Iraq, local relief effort started to help his mother be by his side


By J.J. Smith

ROCKWALL-A 2004 Rockwall High School graduate who joined the U.S. Army in 2005 was injured while serving in Iraq March 23.

Now a local relief  effort has been started by a Rockwall man and family friend to help his mother so she can take time off from her three jobs to be by her son’s side at the U.S. Army hospital in San Antonio.

Josh Odom, the son of Rockwall resident Debra Odom, was handling guard duty March 23 in Baqubah, Iraq, when an enemy combatant threw a live grenade into his guard area which exploded and left severe wounds in his back.

His arm was also injured when he was thrown into a wall by the blast.  It may require surgery, according to his mother, who works at Starbucks in the Rockwall Kroger food store, as well as a nanny and house cleaner.

“We are so thankful it did not do more damage than it did,” she said. “He has some big holes in his back. It will definitely leave some big scars.”

After being injured, Odom was airlifted to a hospital in Germany, and then transported to Washington D.C.

He was expected to arrive March 29 at Brooks City-Base Hospital near San Antonio for eight weeks of further treatment.

The relief effort started after Barrett learned from Odom about her son’s injuries and her need to obtain money to assist Josh in his rehabilitation.

Barrett immediately swung into action and opened an account at the main American National Bank branch in Rockwall with his personal donation.

“Thus far we’ve raised about $1600,” he said, mostly from other families with ties to the military. Barrett’s son is also in the Army, currently serving in Afghanistan, and will return home to Rockwall in early May.

Others interested in helping to support the Odom family can visit the Bank, 2865 Ridge Road, and make a donation.

The account is under the name of Keith Barrett, FBO Josh Odom, Attention: Brenda Briscoe.

For more information, call Keith Barrett at 214-534-0151.

Odom was moved to Iraq in September, 2008, and is due to get out of the Army in May, 2010.

Odom also has a twin brother, Dustin, who is currently serving in the Marines. His mother said Josh also wanted to join the Marines but they would not allow both sons to serve.

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