(CNN) – Thousands of U.S. service personnel have returned from the battlefield with career-ending wounds. But many of them still have a sense of service and a lot of fight left in them.
Now, some of them are putting their skills to work chasing down people who abuse children.
It’s training day for former Army Ranger Tom Block.
Block and 23 other elite war veterans from the U.S. Special Forces, whom the U.S. military spent more than a million dollars each training to be physically and mentally exceptional, are now prepping for a new mission.
Christian, himself a former highly decorated Army Ranger, leads the team as head of a non-profit called Protect. “So the Hero Corps being the unique program that it is, it gives a veteran the opportunity to not only take on a mission, but really, really go out and rescue children.”
The group is partners with Homeland Security investigations and U.S. Special Operations command, to train and place these veterans with law enforcement agencies around the country.
Christian says, “You see groups of children being abused at levels the average American can’t fathom. The abuse seems to be getting more documented and worse.”
Protect says the United States is the world’s largest producer of child pornography. The images – too hard to look at, often too horrible even to describe.
But for these heroes, the idea of not taking action is not an option.
Christian says, “What we’re dealing with his actual capturing of crime scenes. It gives you that sense of urgency to make sure that you’re able to get there as fast as you can. And when they go out into the field, the main objective for the hero is to aid and assist the child rescue.”
These Hero Corps veterans share another trait. In order to qualify for the program, the veteran must have been wounded, ill or injured in service to their country.
Block, the Army Times’ 2014 soldier of the year, was badly wounded during a raid in southern Afghanistan in 2013. A suicide bomber charged him and his team. The explosion went off just eight feet from where Block was standing. “I lost four friends that night. It leveled some of the house, if not most of the house. Threw me back 30 feet into a ditch going to the bunch of others.”
Getting back to fighting shape wasn’t easy. After learning to walk again Sgt. Block endured several reconstructive surgeries. Doctors couldn’t save his right eye, but Block decided to use the setback to make a statement.
“I picked the Captain America shield for my fake eye, because I feel that it something that represents what I stand for. In a big way. He doesn’t like bullies and neither do I.”
Let that serve as notice for anyone who may be terrorizing children.
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