Wednesday, May 22 2013 9:38 PM EDT2013-05-23 01:38:14 GMT
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Wednesday, May 22 2013 9:32 PM EDT2013-05-23 01:32:31 GMT
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Another Alabama soldier is recovering from serious injuries after an explosion in Afghanistan.
PFC Corey Garmon, a native of Sardis in Etowah County, was wounded July 11. Family members say it appears he was the victim of an improvised explosive device that may have been activated by cell phone or other remote control.
Garmon lost one leg in the blast, and a second later had to be amputated, according to his grandfather, Edgar Jones of Piedmont.
Jones says he flew to Betheseda, Maryland, to visit Garmon for a few days last week. Jones' wife Martha, Garmon's grandmother, is still with Garmon at Walter Reed Medical Center.
Jones says Garmon and others in his unit were under fire and Garmon was headed to take shelter behind a wall when the blast broke out. He says it's believe the bomb was activated from 50 to 100 yards away possibly by a cell phone. He says Garmon's best friend heard his shouts for help through the dust, and found Garmon had lost one leg. Jones says his grandson went into cardiac arrest while a medical evacuation helicopter was looking for a safe place to land, as the firefight was still going on.
Garmon lost a lot of blood, but Jones says, "Someone the Lord seen fit for him to still be here with us."
A number of family members as well as Corey Garmon's fiancée are staying with him at Walter Reed.
Jones says when he arrived, Garmon was still under anesthesia, with a breathing and feeding tube. But days later they removed the tubes and his grandson began to talk.
"That was a miracle, just to hear him speak again, " recalled Jones.
Garmon has a room next door to another wounded Etowah County native, SPC Josh Wetzel of Glencoe. Wetzel, the nephew of Fox6 Videojournalist Dixon Hayes, lost his legs from a similar blast May 31. Jones says the two speak to each other often, usually with Wetzel coming to Garmon's room to visit, and Garmon even listened to Wetzel for advice on whether to allow his right leg to be amputated before deciding to do so.
Wetzel and Garmon didn't know each other before they were hospitalized, despite both growing up in Etowah County and both having been stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington state before their deployments.
A third Alabama native, Eric Hunter of Monroeville, is on the same floor at Walter Reed. Hunter lost one leg from yet another IED blast the same day as Wetzel, in a different part of Afghanistan. Hunter's wife Kenna has ties to Jefferson and Shelby Counties.
Jones says Garmon has three surgeries a week and they make a "great difference." He says his grandson's arm still needs a lot of medical attention and he's often in pain for hours at a time.
"Great doctors, great nurses, they couldn't have been any better," said Jones of the staff at Walter Reed.
As for his grandson, Jones says, "He's Army strong. His spirits are high, really."