Wounded soldier shares emotional story; 5K race Saturday - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Wounded soldier shares emotional story; Tunnel to Towers 5K race Saturday

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Sergeant 1st Class Michael Schlitz's life would change forever in 2007 during IED Convoy in Baghdad.

His unit trailing the group came across an explosive that nearly ended Schlitz's life. Schiltz says he only remembers what happened just moments before the blast and recalls rushing to get back to his crew only to be met by flames.

"The majority of the flames had to be on my torso so I went ahead, I dropped my kit, my gear and got down to roll and got about a roll and half out and just at the point your muscles get kind of locked up on you and I just kind of laid there," Schlitz said.

Schlitz was rescued by medics, who immediately rushed him to get proper assistance. He would have to be put into an induced coma for several months and later have several skin grafs to aid his body that had been 85% burned.

Five years and 79 surgeries later, Schlitz is looking ahead towards his future using his story to inspire people all over the world.

He spends most of his time working with the Stephen Stiller Tunnel to Towers Foundation which started to pay honor and respect to New York fire fire fighter Stephen Stiller who on September 11 2001 tried to get to the World Trade Center to help people in need.

"He couldn't get through the tunnel so he actually pulled off all of his gear and ran through the tunnel all the way to the tower and was last seen entering the towers," Schlitz said.

Stiller's legacy lives on through his foundation and through people like Michael Schlitz. On Saturday a 5K race to honor Stiller and help those who are in need will take place at Big Dogs racing in downtown Columbus.

Schlitz says he will be there ready to race and represent a good cause.  

If you'd like to run Tunnel to Towers in Columbus and help the T2T Foundation and the Gary Sinise Foundation to build a smart home for SPC Schlitz, you can donate online at Building for America's Bravest or register for the race online

Race Info:  Packet pick up at BDRC on Sept. 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
                Race day registration starts at 6:30 a.m.
                Race starts at 11th and Broadway at 8:00 a.m. 

For additional details about the Tunnel to Towers 5K check out Big Dog Running Company's website

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