HAWTHORNE, Nev. (AP) - A soldier who had both legs amputated after a June mortar attack in Afghanistan received a rousing welcome from friends and family Saturday in his hometown of Hawthorne.
More than 200 people, including war veterans, greeted Army Spc. Timothy Hall after a nonprofit charity arranged for him to be flown to Hawthorne for the Christmas holiday season.
Hall, 21, was all smiles at the Hawthorne airport as his parents, Eric and Tammy Hamrey, kissed and hugged him, and the crowd chanted his first name and waved American flags, the Lahontan Valley News of Fallon reported.
"It's good to come home today. It helps me a lot," Hall said. "It lets me know they support me a lot. They are not worried what I look like or how I will act. They are just happy for me to be here."
His Christmas wish - a trip home to Hawthorne, 140 miles southeast of Reno - was arranged by Air Compassion for Veterans/Wounded Warriors with the help of three companies. The charity provides free air transportation for wounded veterans.
Hall's return flight to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for further treatment is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 5.
"I'm so excited to have him home. It's been a long haul," Tammy Hamrey told the Lahontan Valley News. "I've got two and a half weeks with him and will cherish every moment of it."
Hall was stationed at the Fallon Naval Air Station before being assigned to the 173rd Brigade Support Battalion out of Bamberg, Germany. His unit was deployed to Afghanistan, where the explosion caught Hall as he was standing in line at a PX.
"He nearly bled to death," his mother said. "His kidneys failed, his lung collapsed and there was other organ damage. He had to have his legs amputated. We've lost Timothy four times. He is a miracle."
Hall, who has since been awarded the Purple Heart, plans to stay with his parents in Hawthorne for the next couple of years after he is released from urgent medical care.
The town of about 3,000 bills itself as "America's Patriotic Home."