Wounded soldier comes home for holidays


by azfamily.com

Video report by Jason Volentine

Posted on December 21, 2013 at 2:19 PM

Updated Saturday, Dec 21 at 2:40 PM

PHOENIX -- Family, friends and even strangers cheered as Seth Wakely walked off an airplane at Sky Harbor Airport, sporting a prosthetic leg.

The United States army specialist had the bottom half of his leg amputated in September, after stepping on a bomb in Afghanistan.

The 19-year-old has been recovering at a Maryland hospital but was able to return home Friday night for the first time since the accident.

"I'm very pleased to have him home," the soldier's father Brian Wakely said as he smiled and hugged his wife.

About 100 people greeted Seth Wakely at Sky Harbor with signs, balloons, flags and hugs.

"It's nice to have everybody here to support me," he said. "I didn't expect this many people."

Seth Wakely said he worked hard to be able to walk off the plane with his new leg and only a cane for support.

Deanna Wakely rolled an empty wheelchair as she walked off the plane with her son. She has been helping him with his recovery in Maryland.

Deanna Wakely said although some days have been difficult, her son has been determined to get better.

"He's incredibly strong and he just goes for it all the time," she said. "He never gives up which is a real inspiration for me."

Seth Wakely will return to Maryland after the holidays to continue his recovery.

In January, he will visit the Florida Keys, where he will learn how to swim and ride a bicycle with his prosthetic leg.

"We were incredibly honored by the way he served and ultimately the way he's handled this whole thing," Brian Wakely said.