By Alberto Gilman
On June 19, 2014, at the age of 24, Retired Lance Corporal William “Kyle” Carpenter became the youngest recipient of the Medal of Honor, the highest award by the United States of America, by former President Barack Obama.
On Wednesday, December 8, 2021, Carpenter joined his fellow veterans, supporters and other distinguished guests as a guest speaker for the Rumshock Veterans Foundation at the Larkin Center in Newburgh.
President of the Rumshock Veterans Foundation William Whetsel was overwhelmed by the Orange County community support. Whetsel is an Air Force veteran who served in the 80s and his goal with Rumshock is to create safe and affordable housing with medical, social and job training services here in Orange County and throughout the Hudson Valley for veterans.
“The New York community, the Orange County community is just unbelievable,” Whetsel said. Town of Montgomery Supervisor Brian Maher, who is an active Naval Reservist, was so grateful for Kyle to come and speak at their event. “Being in the same space and interacting with Kyle Carpenter is something I will remember for the rest of my life,” Maher said. As a representative of Rumshock, Maher joins the mission of Whetsel to provide support for all veterans that need services and is gracious for the support shown at the event. “Over $30,000 was raised at this event,” Maher said. Maher’s goal now is to double the number of donations next year.
“Anytime we can pause and thank our veterans for their service to our county is so important,” Senator Mike Martucci said. “Kyle is a dynamic young man and really he embodies what it is to be an American. If you haven’t heard of the Rumshock Veterans Foundation or don’t know what they do, Google them, check them out. This is an organization that does amazing work here in the Hudson Valley on behalf of our veterans.” George Sanchez, owner of ASAP Scrap was in awe of the various veterans and guests in attendance and supporting Rumshock.
As guests entered into the Larkin Center and during the course of the evening, patrons and guests had the option to purchase a copy of the book ‘You Are Worth It - Building a Life Worth Fighting For’ written by Kyle Carpenter and Don Yaeger. Kyle said he wrote this book during the course of the on-going pandemic. “It took many years of thinking deeply about how I wanted to write it, how I could write it? Everything is a process, it doesn’t just happen overnight. Struggle takes time and life lessons and perspective take time,” Carpenter said. “As I really sat down to think about how could I write this book to appeal to everyone and to allow everyone to not just pick it up and be able to read it, but to understand it and to be able, no matter what their walk or background of life to be able to take from it and apply to their own lives.” For Carpenter, he identified the common thread between all of us is struggle and through his story and his book, he has had the opportunity to connect with many people both in the military and civilian life.
Whether it be at a grocery store or a formal event such as this one, Carpenter said he is “continuously humbled by people.” For him, he says he represents those who cannot be here, enjoying their lives with others. “It’s also heavy that I am, at least for tonight, the voice of those that never made it home and my fellow recipients.”
Born in Mississippi, Carpenter lived in various parts of the Southeast. When he was 21 years old, he was actively serving in the Marine Corps, operating out of Marjah, Afghanistan. On November 21, 2010, his company was attacked and a live grenade entered his post. Without hesitation, Kyle jumped on the grenade and took the full force of the explosion. Five weeks later, he awoke at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, alive but severely injured.
Leaving the hospital, Kyle began his journey to recovery and after multiple surgeries and rehabilitation, he completed his degree at the University of South Carolina, he ran marathons and more importantly, he continued to live.
Carpenter says jokingly that he is still recovering from his last marathon, which took place four years ago but a triathlon may be possible in the near future. Other projects from him are coming soon.