(05/23/2003)
Twenty-six-year old Marine David Bell of Elizabeth was critically injured Tuesday when his 50 caliber machine gun misfired in his face.

He was life-flighted to Palmor Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery. The accident happened at Camp Pendleton near San Diego.

Physicians worked throughout the night to reconstruct his face, according to a family spokesperson. The frontal lobe of his brain was damaged and he has lost the sight of at least one eye.

A prayer vigil was held last night at the Wirt County courthouse.

He was removed from a ventilator yesterday, and is breathing on his own. Bell, whose lifetime desire was to be a Marine, expressed concern for his family, flying "all the way" to see him.

He has served tours of duty in Asia, the Middle East and most recently became a drill instructor.

Bell's wife, Holly, and his two children, Logan, 6, and Schyler, 6 months, accompanied by his parents Ernie and Betsy Ross Bell of Elizabeth, flew to California to be at his bedside.

Bell's mother is a fourth grade teacher at Wirt Primary Center.

He is a nephew of Mr. and Mrs. Tom Justice of Grantsville.

A fund has been established to assist the family at WestBanco in Elizabeth.

You can send checks to:

Wesbanco, P.O. Box 579, Elizabeth, WV 26143 or call (304)275-4268.


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