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Colin Powell Gets a Flat, and a Surprise Helper

Veteran Anthony Maggert, who lost his leg in Afghanistan, was happy to help
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2019 4:33 AM CST
In this photo taken Nov. 9, 2011, former Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks in New York.   (AP Photo/Eric Reichbaum)

(Newser) – Both Anthony Maggert and Colin Powell got a bit of a surprise Wednesday—Maggert, an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, by seeing Powell stranded on the side of the road with a flat, and Powell by seeing Maggert, who lost his leg while in Afghanistan, pulling over to help him, reports CNN. Powell relayed the tale Thursday on Facebook, noting that even though he considers himself a "car guy," it was cold on Wednesday when one of his front tires blew out as he drove along Interstate 495 on his way to the Walter Reed military hospital; the lug bolts on the tire were also "very tight." Enter Maggert, 42, who says the former secretary of state was somewhat "shocked" to see him and his artificial leg, even asking Maggert, "Why are you helping me?," Maggert tells Today. "I said, 'You can wait around for a two-legged guy, but right now you got a one-legged guy.'"

Maggert—who says he hadn't known it was Powell who was stranded until he got closer—helped the 81-year-old finish the job, took a selfie with him, then drove off without leaving his name. After Powell posted the selfie on Facebook, Maggert reached out via his website. "Gen. Powell, I hope I never forget today because I'll never forget reading your books," wrote Maggert, who was an Army contractor in Afghanistan in 2011 when he contracted a flesh-eating bacteria; his leg was amputated four years later. He tells CBS News Powell's words inspired him to enlist: "[He] 100% did—maybe 1,000%." Now Powell is inspired as well. "We are still a good people, but we can do better," Powell says in a statement to Today. "Teach our children, tell our politicians, media, and celebrities that we are fed up with coarseness, belittling each other, and forgetting that not one of us is really superior to anyone else." (Read more Colin Powell stories.)

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