Powell said Anthony Maggert, who lost a leg in Afghanistan, "touched his soul" and reminded him what America is all about.

By Meghan Overdeep
January 25, 2019
Colin Powell Anthony Maggert
Credit: Facebook/General Colin L. Powell

Anthony Maggert knows a thing or two about service—the Marine Corps veteran lost a leg in the war in Afghanistan.

So, when he came across a stranded motorist on his way to a doctor's appointment at Walter Reed Military Hospital in Virginia earlier this week, Maggert pulled over to see if he could help.

He had no idea that the man replacing a flat tire was also on his way to Walter Reed Military Hospital. But he thought the man, retired four-star general and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, looked familiar.

"I am a car guy and knew I could change it, but it was cold outside and the lug bolts were very tight," 81-year-old Powell later wrote on Facebook. "I jacked the car up and got several of the bolts removed when a car suddenly pulled up in front of me."

As the two chatted, Maggert, who uses a prosthesis, explained that he lost his leg in Afghanistan when he worked there as a civilian employee. "He grabbed the lug wrench and finished the job as I put the tools away," Powell recalled. "Then we both hurriedly headed off to appointments at Walter Reed."

Powell noted that he didn't get Maggert's name or contact information, but he did get a selfie.

Later that night, Maggert revealed his identity in a Facebook message to Powell. "Gen. Powell, I hope I never forget today because I'll never forget reading your books," he wrote. "You were always an inspiration, a leader and statesman. After 33 years in the military you were the giant whose shoulders we stood upon to carry the torch to light the way and now it is tomorrow's generation that must do the same."

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Powell said he found the whole thing "reassuring," and that Maggert "made his day."

"Thanks, Anthony," he concluded. "You touched my soul and reminded me about what this country is all about and why it is so great. Let's stop screaming at each other. Let's just take care of each other."