State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

PA House Backs Effort to Name Highway for Sgt. Adam Hartswick

by on January 15, 2014 10:25 AM

It's amazing what can happen in six months.

In that short time, Adam Hartswick went from the sudden trauma of becoming a double-amputee in a war zone to becoming living proof of a doctor's promise.

His mother, Morgan Hummel, remembers talking to her son for the first time after the improvised explosive device detonated while Hartswick tended to wounded soldiers in Afghanistan.

Adam's hands were so bandaged up that he couldn't quite hang up the phone after their conversation. That's when Hummel heard the doctor say to her son, "You'll be dancing in six months."

This past November, using prosthetic legs, the U.S. Army medic danced at his unit's homecoming ball in Texas.

"I always believed that I would, but it's always nice to see something like that come true," he says.

When faced with such challenge and a massive recovery, he says he has to maintain confidence.

"You can't survive any other way in this situation," he says.

Hartswick, 22, is a 2009 graduate of State College High School. He lives at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where his parents take turns caring for him as he undergoes occupational and physical therapy. He likely will stay there for at least one more year, Hummel says.

In recognition of his service, the state House unanimously passed legislation Tuesday that would rename a section of Route 45 in Centre County as the Sgt. Adam Hartswick Interchange. State Rep. Scott Conklin sponsored the bill.

"To say it's an honor is an understatement," Conklin said in a prepared statement. "Sergeant Hartswick acted in bravery and selflessness and this renaming would serve as a forever reminder of his commitment to his community and country."

The renamed portion of state Route 45 in Pine Grove Mills will be from the intersection of Route 26 to Business Route 322 in Boalsburg. The change must still be approved by the state senate.

Occasionally, Hartswick visits the State College area on the weekends while staying at his mother's home in Pine Grove Mills. That's when he gets to meet with old friends and visit places like Otto's Pub & Brewery.

Roger Garthwaite, owner of Otto's Pub & Brewery, presented Hartswick with a check Jan. 4 for more than $13,000. The funds were the result of the sale of 2,705 red, white and blue ribbons that were then placed on a Christmas tree in the restaurant. The funds will help cover some of the expenses that Hartswick has incurred as a result of injuries. The funds included a $1,000 donation from Otto's.

Hatswick's mother is a frequent customer at Otto's and Garthwaite says he felt compelled to help her son.

"It was kind of a natural sequence. I decided to help him because he's a part of the Otto's family," Garthwaite says. "It was clearly a community event. I hope more people will take on projects like this to help the community."

The community has helped Hartswick and his family in other ways, too. For example, Lee Metzger Construction's donation included construction of a deck and ramp at Hummel's home making it easier for Hartswick to get in and out.

"I'm just overwhelmed by the support" Hartswick says. "It's always overwhelming and it always just blows my mind."

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Jennifer Miller is a reporter for StateCollege.com. She has worked in journalism since 2005. She's covered news at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on crime and local government. jenn.miller@statecollege.com
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