Blinded Iraq vet headed to State of the Union

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Former Master Sgt. Eric Marts(left), a blind Iraq war vet who hosts a radio talk show about veterans issues, is going to the State of the Union next week as a guest of Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota.

He’s a vet who gives a voice to other vets — and now he’s headed to the State of the Union address next week.

Eric Marts, a blind Iraq war vet who hosts a radio talk show about veterans issues, is going as a guest of Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota, next week. His program is called “Heroes of the Heartland.”

Heitkamp met former Master Sgt. Marts last summer when she traveled the state to listen to the issues facing North Dakota veterans, she said in a press release.

“Each year, I ask someone special, someone who represents the very best from our communities, to be my guest at the State of the Union. This year, I am so honored that Eric will be able to join us for the President’s address to the nation,” Heitkamp said. “Eric’s story is about a man who is selflessly committed to serving our country, who has sacrificed much and overcame great obstacles. Eric continues to serve and has made it his life’s mission to make life better for those who sacrifice so much for us.”

Heitkamp says she is working to set up meetings for Marts with government officials, lawmakers, and veterans. He plans to also visit the Pentagon and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

While a member of the Army National Guard, Marts was deployed to Iraq for 22 months. He was hit by a roadside bomb while on patrol outside Fallujah. That explosion caused a deterioration of his vision which led to his now-total blindness.

Determined to continue to serve, Marts is focused on helping veterans and their families. His Saturday program on WDAY AM, provides an outlet for vets to share their experiences as well as information about resources for them.

For the 2013 State of the Union address, Heitkamp invited Adrienne Linde. Linde is the wife of Sgt. 1st Class Darren M. Linde, who was killed in action with the North Dakota National Guard 818th Engineer Company, Dec. 3, 2012.


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