By Leila Molan-Allen
MANHATTAN — A Washington Heights street was renamed Saturday in memory of a local marine who dedicated the last years of his life to helping others, despite his debilitating injuries.
Washington Heights native Sgt. Merlin German, known as New York's "Miracle Marine," was honored with the renaming of the Southwest corner of 189th West and St. Nicholas Avenue as "Sgt. Merlin German Way." German was recognized for his work helping child burn victims after he suffered severe burns all over his body in 2006 while serving in Iraq.
City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, State Senator Adriano Espaillat and State Assembly Member Guillermo Linares as well as military and community representatives attended the ceremony on Saturday.
"Today is a proud day for the entire
Washington Heights community. By honoring the Sgt. Merlin German's
achievements, in the face of incredible challenges, we will bring hope
to everyone who feels unable to reach their goals," Rodriguez said.
Sgt. German was injured in 2006 when an roadside bomb exploded near Ramadi, Iraq, leaving him with burns on more than 95 percent of his body. Despite doctors' predictions that he had only a 3 percent chance of survival, Sgt. German lived almost three more years after the accident. He founded a charity "Merlin's Miracles" to support children who had suffered severe burns and their families before eventually dying from his injuries in May 2008.
"For 3 years, Sgt. German balanced going through countless operations and forming a charity for children who were burn victims like himself," Rodriguez said.
"His story will continue to be told in our community, showing the way for those who think they can't make a difference in the world."