Mark Beyers lost an arm and a leg to a roadside bomber in Iraq, but that didn’t stop a gang of thugs from mugging Beyers and his wife outside a Bethesda, Md., restaurant.
Beyers, 27, a Marine lance corporal from Elma finishing up rehabilitation at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., had just left a restaurant on July 22 when the robbery happened.
“Five guys approached us,” his wife, Denise, said in a telephone interview from Washington. “They were asking for a cigarette, we gave them one, and headed toward our car.”
Beyers, fitted with a prosthetic leg and arm, was almost to the car with his wife when the men approached again.
“Two of them came up to me and said “Give me your purse, give me your purse,’ ” his wife said.
Denise Beyers, who was just discharged from the Marines herself last week, wasn’t about to give up without a fight.
“I was swearing at them, retaliating, and holding on to my purse,” she said. “They ended up getting it away from me; they threw me on the ground.”
Dave Beyers Sr., Mark’s father, said his son told him the group knocked him to the ground, and then punched or kicked his wife.
“They busted her lips up,” Dave Beyers said. “I guess she hit the ground so hard, it ripped her knees up. She’s got scabs all over.”
“She got beat up pretty good,” he said. “I talked to her the next day, and she was still shaking, you could tell.”
Mark Beyers escaped the ordeal without injury. The couple reported the robbery to the police, but no arrests have been made.
There was a reason Denise Beyers fought so hard to keep her purse. Her mother had just wired her $500, and this was the couple’s first night away from the hospital in three weeks.
“So I took him out to dinner, and then these guys stole the rest of our money from us,” she said. “It was traumatic, it really was.”
Thankfully, this is not the end of the story.
Dave Beyers said an already scheduled fundraiser for his son on Aug. 12 now has a little added reason for taking place.
The event, set to begin at 2 p.m. at the Akron VFW Post, is expected to draw about 1,000 people for a day of music and fund-raising auctions. At least 100 of Beyers’ fellow Marines are also expected from the Buffalo-based India Company, Third Battalion, 25th Regiment.
The crowd estimate will probably turn out to be on the low side. When Mark Beyers returned home for the first time last Oct. 30, people were lined up three and four deep along Main Street in Alden as his hometown turned out for a parade in his honor.
Beyers, one of three injured Iraqi veterans introduced at center ice in HSBC Arena for the May 26 Buffalo Sabres playoff game with the Carolina Hurricanes, expects to return home from the hospital for good this weekend.
I will post if I find any additional fundraiser info, though I feel it’s a safe bet that the $500, along with a great many other dinners, will already be covered for these two who have suffered after sacrificing for so many.