Wounded Soldier Home At Last

HAWTHORNE, NV - There have been two constants in the nearly three years that we've covered the story of Sgt. Tim Hall's recovery the wounds, he suffered in a mortar attack in Afghanistan, wounds that cost him both legs.

Those two consistent themes: The outpouring of support he's received from his hometown of Hawthorne and beyond and his unfailing positive attitude.

Saturday, he had one more reason to smile. At a ceremony that drew a hundreds from all over the state, he was handed the keys to a new home on the hillside above Hawthorne.

It was just the last and biggest in a long series of demonstrations of support for the 23 year old soldier.

Perhaps this could only happen in a small, close knit town like Hawthorne.

When Tim was hit by a mortar shell, it's not too much to say that this whole community felt the blow. They knew him as the kid who grew up here, the 3 sport athlete in high school and the young soldier who enlisted and went off to war.

The community, hit harder than most by the economic downturn, stepped forward, some on a very personal level,

"Some of my co-workers donated leave so I could spend 4 or 5 months with my son," remembers Hall's mother, Tammy Hamrey.

Others raised money to help support her as she flew to Germany to the hospital where Tim was first taken..

Within weeks there were t-shirt sales, poker runs and raffles to help support the family.

As Tim was beginning a long recovery at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, plans were being made back in Hawthorne.

Volunteers and donated materials modified the family home, making it wheelchair accessible ahead of his first visit.

And when that time came, it seemed half the town was there at the airport to welcome him home. The other half cheered from the roadside as he was escorted to his parent's house.

But his plan was always not only to return to his hometown, but to live independently living the kind of life he'd always planned.

He bought property a few miles out of town and last summer volunteers supported by the Nevada Military Support Alliance and Homes for our Troops, began building his home.

Saturday it was ready, and Tim cut the ribbon and entered his new purpose built home. A lot of people had made this moment possible.

"All the support's been amazing," said Hall. "I couldn't ask for a better state to live in for all the support. And to come home to it just for actually just going over there and doing my job is just amazing."

Hall is already paying some of this forward. While hospitalized in Washington, he was known for visiting other wounded troops, cheering them.

A week ago he came to Reno to visit with the Marines injured in a fatal training accident not far from his new home.

"He wanted to go see them and see if he could do anything for them," says Tammy Hamrey. "That's what Tim is all about."

Saturday may have been the last big public event in this series. Now, he begins the new phase of his life, where he always imagined he'd be, not much different than what he imagined.

"Off road racing, I'm going to get back into skiing. Going to the lake, camping. Just having fun with friends all the time."

"He's independent again," his mother says. "He's taken the next step in his life. And in this beautiful home how could you not. I'm going to have a guest room here. (laughs)

Nearly three years after that terrible day in Afghanistan, Tim Hall is finally home. His own home.


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