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INDIANAPOLIS–You are living and working with Hoosiers who have paid the price for serving to keep our country free. One of those people is Jeffrey Mittman, CEO of Bosma Enterprises, who had most of his face blown apart while serving in Iraq on July 7, 2005.

“I don’t remember a big chunk of them, but it’s somewhere around there- 40 or so,” said Mittman in an interview with Terri Stacy, recalling the number of surgeries he had over a five-year period to put back together his teeth, nose, right arm, and eyes.

“I spent the last quarter of my career, about five and a half years, going through surgery after surgery after surgery and I told the doctors, okay that’s it. I’ve got to get on with life.”

The roadside bomb exploded July 7. Mittman said the last thing he remembered was talking to an Iraqi on Independence Day, telling him what July 4, means to Americans.

“Then I woke up some time in August at Walter Reed in Washington, D.C. with my wife talking to me,” he said. About two months later, it was time for his little girls, then three and eight, to see their dad for the first time since the attack.

“I’d had a fear that they wouldn’t accept me. But, they innately understood that even though I looked different and sounded different I was still dad and that’s all that mattered to them.”

The girls were brought from a motel to their father’s room.

“With my very limited vision, because my right eye was damaged as well, I could see two little figures and I said, ‘Hi babies,” and they came running up and jumped in my lap and started hugging on me.”

Mittan said their acceptance is what helped him through those very difficult years when some parts of his body were being used as “spare parts” to repair his damaged face. Mittman has limited vision in his right eye, which includes peripheral vision only.

The retired master sergeant now works as CEO for Bosma Enterprises, a position he started in August. In that capacity he’s able to help people who are visually impaired, including veterans, with training so they can work. He is the first CEO of the company who is mostly blind.

Mittman credits the Army with saving his life, saying they brought in surgeons who specialized in the repair work needed to not only save his life, but to reconstruct his face and other parts of his body that were damaged in the enemy attack.

Terri Stacy contributed to this report.

PHOTO: Bosma Enterprises