Wounded soldier not looking back with regret
PADUCAH MAN'S WIFE AND FAMILY HELP HIM COPE WITH LOSS OF LEG
PADUCAH - Though he lost his left leg in an Iraqi suicide bombing, U.S. Army Sgt. Brad Alexander doesn't look back with regret.
"It is the best thing I've done in my life," Alexander told The Paducah Sun.
He'll celebrate Christmas in his native Paducah, which did not seem possible in August when he was severely wounded on a street in an Iraqi village.
Alexander, 33, was six days short of finishing his second yearlong tour in Iraq and was looking forward to his next assignment. His unit was engaging villagers about 30 miles north of Baghdad when a suicide bomber detonated herself less than five feet from him.
Alexander pointed to a chair across a narrow restaurant table. "That's how far away she was."
Before the smoke cleared, Spec. Adam Turcotte pulled the wounded Alexander from the village street, suffering flash burns to his face.
After intense physical therapy, Alexander can again go deer and duck hunting with friends, and scoot along the floor with his 3-year-old son as they play with Matchbox cars. He receives constant reminders of love and support from family and friends.
Alexander is also thankful that he was allowed to pin the Bronze Star with Valor combat award on the chest of Turcotte, who saved his life. During a recent ceremony at Fort Campbell, the Army also awarded Alexander the Bronze Star, but he wanted to talk only about Turcotte.
"That was indescribable being allowed to do that. Unless you're in the military and understand what the award means, words cannot do it justice," Alexander said. "It's an honor to pin a medal on the person who saved your life."
For about two weeks after being severely wounded Aug. 16, Alexander also dealt with mental wounds, and feared that life would be incomplete as an amputee.
After a heart-to-heart talk with his wife, Charlotte, he decided to accept his fate and live his life to the fullest.
"I felt like life could not go on after losing my leg, and then I didn't (care) about it," Alexander said. "I've progressed in my physical therapy. I'm going to be fitted with a prosthesis."
The soldier's father, Buel Alexander, said he was amazed at his son's progress after four months. "When we saw him at the end of October, he was wheelchair bound. I'm very happy with what he's been able to accomplish," the elder Alexander said.
But his son said he could not do it alone.
His wife learned from hospital personnel how to apply salve and tie Ace bandages.
"My wife, my parents have been great. My wife constantly, constantly wore out visiting hours at the hospital and was there for heart-to-heart talks," Alexander said. "If it wasn't for that, I might not have been able to get back to reality."
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