INMAN, S.C. (WSPA) – A Purple Heart is a military decoration for those wounded or killed in action.

In this Thank You for Your Service series, 7NEWS spoke to one Purple Heart veteran who said he’s grateful he’s alive today to share his story. His name is Grant Blackwell.

“Joined originally in 2003 and got out in 2013,” Blackwell told 7NEWS. “So I spent 10 years in.”

Blackwell shared that after 9/11 he felt that he had a calling to join the United States Army and was deployed in 2006 for the first time to Iraq.

His job was to patrol areas and make sure they were clear of explosives.

“It was a challenge every day. 99% of the time, it was mind-numbing boredom,” Blackwell explained. “And then the other 1% of that was just absolute chaos. So a lot of emotions, a lot of ups and downs.”

His job turned into running convoys.

“Which we had not been accustomed to doing,” he said. “And in that time, we became, rather than looking for the IEDs we became the target of those IEDs, which is where, you know, my purple heart came from.”

It was Father’s Day, June 17, 2007, when Blackwell’s humvee was blown up by a bomb that was on the side of the road.

“I remember making a phone call to my dad and he instantly knew that there was something wrong when I made that phone call to him,” Blackwell said.

However, still, today sharing that story, he said he was lucky.

“All of us survived with relatively minor injuries. I took some shrapnel to the head and neck and some minor burns on my arms and lower back,” Blackwell added. “And almost instantly the humvee that we were in was in flames, destroyed within a matter of minutes.”

After a few days in the hospital, Blackwell was back on duty running convoys again. However, it wasn’t long until his injuries caught up with him.

“A few days later, after a mission, I remember feeling a blister on my head and remember this warm feeling coming over me and then passing out and waking up on the ground,” Blackwell said. “And it was, apparently a piece of that shrapnel was embedded in my skull, and had formed this blister that had popped.”

16 years later, the emotional trauma is still there, but Blackwell said he is working through it.

​”I’ve been inspired specifically recently by other vets who have done a really good job of talking about their stories, sharing their own stories,” he said. “I’ve always felt like mine was one that, you know, it was an inconvenience for me. But it can always have been worse. There are guys, that didn’t make it back.”

He uses that positive mindset to be grateful for all that he is able to have today.

Grant Blackwell, Thank You for Your Service.

If you know of a veteran in need of help, click here for resources.

If you are a veteran wanting to share your story, click here.