KOKOMO, Ind. (WISH) - Anthony Walton of Kokomo has dreamed of becoming an American infantryman since he was a child. He wanted to make a difference.
Our partners at the Kokomo Tribune report that after September 11, 2001, Walton joined the military.
While fighting in the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 10th Mountain Infantry in Afghanistan, Walton was patrolling on foot and on his way back to camp for the day.
But when they got close to camp, gunfire erupted.
"We were only about 100 meters from [combat out post] when a call came saying the guys at [combat out post] spotted some guys with weapons. I tucked my head down to listen to the transmission. At that time, rounds started going off. The rounds hit my helmet, my chest and my arms. It spun me like a top and threw me to the ground about 10 feet away. I couldn't move. I didn't realize I was hit until I was able to roll over and I saw blood everywhere. That's when I knew I was hit. I took 37 rounds of fire losing full use of my left arm, shoulder, left back, partial eyesight, and hearing."
Shortly later, Medevac arrived and tried to get him and the other wounded out of danger. Gunfire again erupted as they were getting on the helicopter. Luckily, he was able to dive into the helicopter and evacuate the area safely.
Walton spent time in the hospital recovering from his injuries.
Today, Walton still deals with the injuries and memories from that attack.
"My speech is getting better, but the worst part is I don't remember the last four years of my life. I don't remember my son's birth and I was there," he said.
Walton said he believes this was his destiny - to fight in the war and lead men to battle. Now that he is home with his family, his goal is to help other injured soldiers deal with their battles.
While Walton has always found joy in helping others, now the community is coming together to help him.
With the help of the Wounded Warriors Project out of Grissom Air Reserve Base, volunteers have begun construction on a new home for Walton and his family.
"It's pretty amazing what all the volunteers are doing," said Walton.
He says it is good to know the community is a good community, even at hard times.