SPC Cliff Hageman joined the army just a few months after his high school graduation in 1988, serving until 1992. His military occupation specialty (MOS) was an 88M, or a Motor Transport Operator. SPC Hageman was assigned to a Service Battery Infantry Unit in Schweinfurt, Germany, where he drove a HEMMT (Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck) and hauled tank round ammunition. When he had just less than a year left of his 3-year enlistment, he was transferred to Stuttgart, Germany with a unit that was going to Operation Desert Shield, which quickly turned into Desert Storm.

Full Transcript is Below:

– Welcome in to a very special edition of NFMTV, as we welcome in studio our December recipient of our NFM Salute, Cliff Hageman, who served in Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield. And I am your host, Greg Sher. Cliff, thank you for being here and thank you for your service.

– Greg, thank you so very much.

– We really appreciate that so much, and as people, watch you here as you’re going to put your leg back on, people I’m sure are wondering, how you lost it in service, but you, in fact, did not lose your leg in the line of duty. Talk to us, about how you became an amputee, and how you’ve used that to send a very strong message to the community.

– Yes, thank you, it is a privilege to be here. there are no accidents, I want to start out by saying that everything happens for a reason. And, yes, I get asked every single day when I’m out by people if I’m a veteran, and I say yes, but I didn’t lose my leg there. I actually lost my leg from someone texting and driving, Greg. September 9th, 2014, I was coming out of a gas station, There was a woman down on her phone, I shifted into second, I saw her down on her phone, It was clear, I could go, and I shifted into third, and as soon as I did, that split second, she went, never looked up, and never hit the break, and she hit me. I went flying through the air, like a Apache helicopter. Slid, and I actually thought I was okay. When I first landed, and I sat up and saw my leg completely degloved, and broken bones, and all that. I knew I was in trouble. One of the witnesses came up and told me to call my brother. I just yelled please call my brother and when my brother got on the phone with me I actually faded out and I heard the guy yelling, just like veterans have heard, wake up! And I woke up and I said, we gotta tie this off and three people at the scene took their shirts off and tied it across my thigh.

– [Greg] Yeah.

– And that saved my life. I lost fifty percent of my blood at the scene.

– You were obviously on a motorcycle at the time, and so happy that you made it through. And it took twenty-three surgeries and it really rocked your world and your marriage and just your whole being. And you had a choice to make. What was the choice you had, in terms of how to move forward and what choice did you make?

– Oh, what a great question. Well, first of all, we all have choices, right? Amputees have a little more excuses in their choices. But we all have choices, and I choose life. I choose to live. And you know, obviously, I got out of the hospital like you had mentioned, 23 surgeries. And I had a total of 28. And when I end up getting back to my life, which was owning and operating a real estate company with my brother, where the passion wasn’t there anymore and I was pulled, dragged, into my own nonprofit. And I’m so thrilled to be here to help one of your three nonprofits, ’cause I know what a nonprofit, what it’s like to run one, and they all need help. They’re all doing great things.

– You’ve chosen Platoon 22, which is emblematic of the 22 veterans who commit suicide every day. And then you add the 11 kids, t’s just a staggering statistic. 11 people that lose their lives every day from texting and driving incidents. And that is how this was born. This organization that you have founded and I want you to tell us what this stands for, tell us what it means to you, tell us how people can get involved in the STAND movement.

– Well, uh, STAND is the acronym for Stop Texting and Driving. That’s how I lost my leg. Once I did my research, I did find, like you mentioned, that 11 kids dying every day, of our new drivers. I coached kids for ten years in basketball and baseball, so I love working with kids. I’m Coach Cliff, so I coach these kids up. I speak at high schools, and talk to them about the life and death dangers of texting and driving. That magnet that you showed, we’re doing a Million Magnet Drive. We’re putting a million magnets on the back of a million cars. You’ve got to hold yourself accountable first.

– It’s such an epidemic.

– It’s an epidemic! It has surpassed the drunk driving, surpassed it.

– In our remaining couple of minutes here, Cliff, I want to just give you the floor to send whatever message you want out there to those that continue to text and drive.

– When you’re texting and driving, nobody’s home, Greg, no one’s there. You’re basically in an unarmed, unmanned vehicle with no copilot. 11 kids are dying every single day. STAND was created to raise the awareness of the life and death dangers of texting and driving. There is two, two and a half, main ways that we do this. With our Million Magnet Drive, putting a million magnets on the back of a million cars. We have STAND dog tags. And, most people don’t know what these dog tags are used for by our veterans. When they’re in war, you get two of them. They take one, and they put it over your big toe. They take the other one and they put it in your front tooth, so they can come and identify you later. So, these dog tags were created by STAND and by me. That shows you the life and death dangers of texting and driving. And you are reminded when you hear that beep, and we start salivating like Pavlov’s dog, I got a text! No, let the beep go! STAND, right? We’re saving lives, we’re impacting lives, we’re talking to high school kids, we’re visiting high schools. We talk to realtors, to lenders, and share with them the stats, the stories that my brother and I hear, that they say someone doing the most outlandish things while they’re driving on their phone.

– Wow, what a call to action. For those people that want to participate and get involved with STAND, just give us the website domain.

– It’s Standdriving.org. One D, one leg.

– Thank you very much again for your service and for being with us on NFMTV. I’m Greg Sher, hope you’ve enjoyed this special edition of NFMTV, we’ll see you again next time. If you want to see more of our material, you can go to nfmtv.com, thank you.