Army Sgt. Leroy Scott came home Sept. 14 to his family, friends, neighbors, the Falcon Fire Department, local business leaders and news media waiting to greet him
ABOVE: COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Maj. Shawn Shugars, Air Force Space Command plans officer (right), visits with his neighbor Army Sgt. Leroy Scott and his wife Shelia during the welcome home here Sept. 14. MIDDLE PHOTO: Sgt. Scott arrives home Sept. 14, greeted by family, friends and neighbors. BOTTOM PHOTO: Falcon Fire Department members stand in front of Sgt. Scott's newly landscaped yard Sept. 14 and await his arrival home.
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Tears of joy ran down faces and cheers filled the air as the door to the limousine opened and revealed the hero returning home from war.
Army Sgt. Leroy Scott came home Sept. 14 to his family, friends, neighbors, the Falcon Fire Department, local business leaders and news media waiting to greet him.
They were eager to see the expression on his face as he realized the improvements to his home and yard that his neighbor Maj Shawn Shugars, Air Force Space Command plans officer, had orchestrated while he was gone.
Sergeant Scott, a combat medic with Fort Carson’s 3rd Army Cavalry Regiment, moved to Colorado Springs with his family and was here only three weeks when he was sent to Iraq with his unit.
While in Iraq, his team went on a raid to take out a group of adversaries hiding in an abandoned school. Some of the team members were caught in enemy cross-fire.
“The call came through that we had an injured soldier. He had been shot in the throat, and several other places. When we got to him, I was able to stop the bleeding and perform a tracheotomy,” said Sergeant Scott. “We cut his body armor off and then placed him on a litter. We [then] got him stabilized and in the personnel carrier.”
The team pulled out of the area and moved 200 meters down the road when their armored personnel carrier was hit by two anti tank mines. It blew the vehicle in the air.
“A white light rushed over me,” said Sergeant Scott. “When I came to, I was on my back. I couldn’t move at the time, and something heavy was lying across my leg. I had a hard time breathing.”
Sergeant Scott didn’t know the extent of his injuries, but he began yelling out for the other two team members who were in the vehicle with him. There was no reply. They had been killed.
“I yelled as loud as I could for help and then I heard someone say, ‘Hey First Sergeant, there’s one alive,” said Sergeant Scott. “I heard the First Sergeant say, ‘who’s alive?’ I yelled back, Sergeant Scott.”
The First Sergeant said to hold on for help to arrive. Sergeant Scott sat immobilized in the dark personnel carrier that had been flipped and damaged from the blast.
“It was the loneliest feeling I’ve ever had,” said Sergeant Scott. “I really didn’t think I was going to make it. If he hadn’t come back as fast as he did, I think I would have just stopped breathing.”
A moment later, the vehicle moved, and the door swung open. Sergeant Scott saw six to eight silhouettes standing in the light. They lifted the steel off of him, and the First Sergeant reached his hand in and pulled Sergeant Scott out of the vehicle.
“That was the most intense pain I’ve ever felt in my life,” said Sergeant Scott. “I think I passed out several times. Each time I came to, I would tell them how to treat me. I had them stop the bleeding. Then I passed out again.”
One of the soldiers attempted to start an intravenous line but couldn’t get it working, so Sergeant Scott helped put the needle in his own arm.
“My last thought was, my First Sergeant got me this far, I can do the rest,” said Sergeant Scott.
He passed out again and woke up in Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Sergeant Scott sustained many injuries including a right leg amputation, shattered left leg, fractured back, five broken ribs, and a fractured skull.
After many surgeries, plates and pins, the doctors at Walter Reed were amazed how fast he was healing.
“There must be a lot of prayers,” Sergeant Scott said.
During the time at Walter Reed, Sergeant Scott had no idea his neighbor, Major Shugars, was working hard to surprise him upon his return home.
“When I heard about the attack Sergeant Scott had survived in Iraq, I knew we [the community] needed to do something special for him before he arrived home,” said Major Shugars.
The Major learned that Sergeant Scott had a deadline from the homeowner’s association to landscape his yard by the end of September. He called several landscaping companies, contractors, and businesses to see about getting donations for the work. Once he explained the reason, the community and businesses pitched in to help.
“It’s amazing all the people who donated to this project,” said Major Shugars. “We received $40,000 worth of materials and labor.”
Twenty companies donated their time, materials and labor to install sod, rock, a stamped-cement patio, air conditioner and humidifier all in time for Sergeant Scott’s return.
“Oh my gosh! I was in shock,” said Sergeant Scott’s wife Shelia. “It’s unbelievable how much the community cares.”
One company even donated a large barbeque grill.
“Leroy [Scott] kept talking about how he was going to buy a grill when he got back,” said Major Shugars.
Sergeant Scott is as overwhelmed as his wife.
“I can’t even believe this,” he said . “I have some great neighbors. We’re going to do some barbequing.”