Wounded Soldier Comes Home to QCA, Honored at Benefit - FOX 18 Quad Cities News and Weather

Wounded Soldier Comes Home to QCA, Honored at Benefit

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A special benefit was held in Dixon, IL on Saturday in honor of Army Specialist Michael Shoemaker Jr. who was badly injured in Afghanistan last year.

The 25-year old told us he had a dream to serve his country at a very young age.

"I knew since I was a freshman in High School that I was going to join the army," he said.

He joined the US Army right out of high school. But what he didn't know was that his life would later take a nasty turn.

"When we were moving the ammunition on our FOB (Forward Operating Base) -- we weren't under enemy fire or anything so it's considered an accident -- and 13 grenades blew up wounded five of us and killed one," Shoemaker said.

He was severely wounded. He broke both legs, deflated his right lung and lost half of his skull, which has been replaced with a titanium plate.

His mother Sandra says she broke down when she got the news.

"Pretty much just shut down and just cried, anything would make me cry," she said.

Michael spent the first two-months in the hospital, but says he knew something had to change:

"The first time I got to see my kids is when everything turned around for me, the first time they asked me daddy come play with us and I couldn't get out of the hospital bed that was it for me, I had to get better."

And so he did. After eight months of extensive therapy he got back up on his two feet.

He's currently home on leave, and is in the process of being medically discharged. So to help him and his family out with expenses his mother decided to throw a benefit in his honor.

"My son will tell you he's not a hero but to me he is an all star hero. Any soldier that fights for our freedom deserves a welcome home," she said.

Michael says he plans on coming back home to become a mechanic, buy a house, and to be with his family for good.

The benefit for Specialist Shoemaker continues at the Dixon VFW until 1 a.m. Sunday.

You can also call Sandra Shoemaker at 815-703-2548 to donate or for more information.

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