Austin Young is a 2017 graduate of Ripley High School who has been deployed overseas with the United States Army. He signed up for the military on March 15, 2017 and has been active just over two years.

Young has served in both Kuwait and Syria and recently received his specialist (SPC) ranking.

On May 12, 2019, Young was injured in the line of duty when a 400 pound armored door crushed his pinky, ring, and middle fingers. This injury caused him to lose his first knuckle on both his pinky and ring fingers. Following the accident, Young was taken to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for treatment.

“We worked on occupational therapy, focusing on getting the grip strength back into my left hand,” Young said. “Within two weeks, the doctors helped me improve my grip strength from 20 pounds to 90 pounds.”

Young said he is still able to carry on his military duties and stay in the service as a reservist.

While actively deployed in combat zones overseas, Young recalls receiving care packages from the Jackson County Troop Link organization.

“It was really nice because they would include things such as local newspapers to make it seem like home wasn’t that far away,” Young said. “Being able to be in touch with people from Jackson County while halfway across the world was something special and made the deployment much easier for everyone involved.”

Not only is Young an Army reservist, but he is also a volunteer fire fighter for the Ripley Volunteer Fire Department and works as a 911 dispatcher for the Jackson County 911 center.

Young was able to return home from the Army on June 11.

“It definitely feels good to be home,” Young said.