Former Secretary of State Colin Powell wrote on Thursday about receiving help changing his tire from a veteran who lost his leg in Afghanistan, writing that it “touched my soul.”
Powell, who’s also a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote on Facebook that he had been on his way to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, driving along Interstate 495, when his left front tire blew out.
“I am a car guy and knew I could change it but it was cold outside and the lug bolts were very tight,” Powell writes. “I jacked the car up and got several of the bolts removed when a car suddenly pulled up in front of me.”
While talking to the man who had pulled over to help, Powell wrote he learned the man had lost his leg in Afghanistan. The man told Powell he had recognized him and wanted to help.
“He grabbed the lug wrench and finished the job as I put the tools away,” Powell writes, and then they both headed off to appointments at Walter Reed.
“I hadn’t gotten his name or address but he did ask for a ‘selfie,’ ” Powell writes, and posted the photo of them together.
Powell wrote that the man messaged him the following on Wednesday night: “Gen. Powell, I hope I never forget today because I’ll never forget reading your books. 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. Anthony Maggert”
“Thanks, Anthony,” Powell writes. “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. You made my day.”
Maggert, who told CNN he served as a contracting officer in the Army and did three tours in Iraq and two in Afghanistan before leaving the military in June 2018 and obtaining the rank of major, said in a phone interview that he encountered Powell as he was headed to see the prosthetist for a routine appointment.
“I was going down the road and I saw somebody on the side of the road and they looked like they were in need. I didn’t know who it was but that didn’t matter to me. The closer I got, I realized who it was,” Maggert told CNN.
Powell “was always a hero of mine when I was a kid,” Maggert said. He said he submitted the paragraph addressed to Powell through his website and then a member of Powell’s team reached out to him.
Maggert told CNN he lost his leg due to flesh-eating bacteria, and said, “I was still in active duty and I still continued to serve. I never left active duty as an amputee.”
He said he had served 23 years in the military, and after retiring last year went to culinary school.
CNN’s Ashley Billings contributed to this report.