Jim Cogdill earned a Purple Heart for his combat service in Vietnam, during which he was so badly injured leaving him with use of only one leg. For his actions, he was awarded a Purple Heart.
Fast forward to last week when deadly fires ripped through his Tennessee home, surging so quickly he and his wife barely had time to escape alive.
Cogdill, despite only having one leg and also having cancer, said he “isn’t afraid of fire” so he fought off the flames as long as he could in an attempt to save his cherished family home of over 40 years.
Jim’s wife, Judy Cogdill, described the harrowing ordeal.
“It was horrifying,” she said. “By the time that we knew the fire was close, it was so close that we actually burned our faces as we got in our car.”
Ultimately he had to relent and flee to safety. While they made it out okay, their home was utterly destroyed.
His son, Travis Cogdill, spent hours combing through rubble searching for his father’s medals. They found the case to the Purple Heart, but unfortunately he has been unable to locate the medal itself.
Faithwire previously reported on the above picture showing a statue of Jesus being the only thing that survived the fire – that was actually from Cogdill’s home.
Now that the full story is coming out about the family behind the statue, the story is even more moving. They, and many others in the area have ‘strong faith’ and are leaning on God to get them through.
“God has been with us,” Jim’s wife Judy Cogdil said. “He spared our lives, and we owe the glory to him.”
Jim said the outpouring of love and support his family has received after losing their home has been “overwhelming.”
Talk about an incredible string of tough obstacles to overcome in one lifetime: losing a leg in war, getting cancer, and then having your home burn to the ground? The least America can do for this hero is help him find or replace his Purple Heart. He was there for his country, now his country needs to be there for he and his family.
Cogdill’s son plans to have his father’s Purple Heart replaced in the event that he can’t find it himself. His parents are currently living with him.
Earlier this week, two teens from Tennessee were charged with arson and intentionally starting the fire.
Watch the full report from WATE below.