Wounded Soldier Returns Home - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson 02/05/07

Wounded Soldier Returns Home

By Julie Straw
julie@wlbt.net

A Mississippi soldier returns home to Jackson.  The Army Sergeant was wounded while serving in Afghanistan nearly two and half years ago.  Monday he was welcomed to the Jackson-Evers International Airport by an unexpected group of supporters.

American flags in hand, 20 members of the Patriot Guard Riders prepare to welcome a brave warrior home.  Many of the men and women are local military veterans, whose mission now is to give support to the soldiers fighting for our freedom everyday.

"We're here to welcome these guys home. That's part of what Partiot Guard Riders do. We didn't get welcomed home very much. And so we try to get these guys," said Ken Lenington, a 20 year Marine Corps. veteran.

With eager family members they wait for 27year old Sergeant Wilson Coronel.  He arrives, walking steadily towards his sister and friend.  Then strides past a line of supporters he wasn't expecting to see.

Sergeant Coronel walks tall, something at one time he was told he may never be able to do.  An improvised explosive device hit his convoy in Afghanistan, severely damaging his legs.  That was in Cctober of 2004.  Since then he has undergone 13 surgeries at the Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii.

"Lots of bone graphs, a lot of physical therapy and worked hard and got to where I am," said Sgt. Coronel.

He is home now, with several people lined up to say thank you.

"We just want them to know we're very proud of them and we love them all," said Linda Calvert, a military mother and member of the Patriot Guard Riders.

"It's great, I didn't expect all this. I didn't want all this, but I appreciate it," said Sgt. Coronel.

Sergeant Coronel has finished his work with the army.  He is back in Jackson to stay.  His only sister Melissa Davis says it is about time.

"I finally have my brother again. I don't have to share him with anybody else. I don't have to share him with the United States. He's officially mine again," said Davis.

Sergeant Coronel served eight years in the army. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division.

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