Homecoming Planned For Young Injured Veteran

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LAMPASAS (September 19, 2013) - A community is coming together to recognize and welcome home a local hero.

Christopher Haley was a combat medic and was injured in the explosion of a homemade bomb as he went to help another soldier.

Family and friends of Army veteran Christopher Haley have planned an "alive day" event to celebrate the two year anniversary that he was severely injured by an improvised explosive device.

Haley deployed to Afghanistan in 2011.

But his mother, who is also a soldier, said she was surprised that her son even enlisted.

"He's come from a military family. My husband and I are both military," she said.

"So I never thought he would join the military, but he didn't really have a plan for what he wanted to do after high school."

She said she was fearful but proud of the challenges her son had already overcome.

The hardest part for her was getting notification about her son's injury after he tried to help a wounded fellow soldier.

"Chris went in to help him and while he was taking care of him he stepped on an IED as well."

Christopher was a combat medic and said he immediately knew how to react to the life threatening situation.

"Once I stood up the next thing I know I'm in a ditch and I'm confused trying to figure out what's going on. I tried to stand up but couldn't and realized that I couldn't, then I looked at my leg and saw that it was gone," he said.

Christopher said he worked to put a tourniquet on his wound and called for help.

"I figured as a medic I'm probably going to die."

He underwent extensive surgery and rehabilitation.

He also received the Purple Heart and bronze star with valor for his heroic actions.

"I think a lot of us consider him..he'll never say it but we all know he's a hero," said Samuel Barbero, a friend who went to Lampasas High School with Christopher.

"When we found out about it we were all depressed and very upset. When we went and saw him he made our outlook on life a little different because we saw that bad things could happen to good people but they can continue on."

The two played football and soccer together, and remained close friends.

Barbero said Christopher had high spirits even while recovering in the hospital.

"We went in there kind of somber and he looks over at me and goes it looks like I'm going to have to be a pirate for Halloween from now on, and just after all that happened to still have such a good outlook on stuff and not to let it get him down is a really big thing," Barbero said.

The family's pastor Bernie Schey also assisted the Haley's throughout their difficult situation.

But now, the community is eager to see Christopher return home.

"I think its a great time of rejoicing," Schey said.

"First of all that's he's alive and that he's doing well."

Christopher's last day in the military was Sept. 11.

"It feels good..it's different," he said.

"Because as much as I was ready to get out there's still some things about the military that I'm going to miss, but I'm ready just to start a knew chapter. I really appreciate it and it feels great to be honored for everything."

The community will host the welcome home celebration at 4 p.m. Saturday at the VFW in Lampasas.