KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) - As wounded Army veteran Spc. Anthony Walton recovers from a head injury he suffered in a fall recently, volunteers are putting the finishing touches on his new home.
A 1996 Kokomo High School graduate, Walton was wounded last year while fighting as part of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 10th Mountain Infantry in Afghanistan.
Walton was hit with 37 rounds of gunfire, losing full use of his left arm, shoulder and left back. He partially lost his sight and hearing from the barrage of bullets.
After returning to Kokomo, a group with the Homes for Wounded Warriors Project pitched in to build a home for Walton and his family on North Wabash Avenue.
Then as the home was being built, Walton fell and hit his head and suffered a serious injury. He was in a coma at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis.
Teri Rose, a member of the Military Foundation and a friend of the family, said Walton is out of his coma and recovering.
"He's progressing as they hoped," she said Tuesday.
"He started speaking to his wife yesterday. It's very positive news," she told the Kokomo Tribune (http://bit.ly/V6VLfW ). "His brain in still healing, but he's got a long road ahead of him."
Rose, mother of veteran Neil Simmons, who died in Iraq, said the support from the Home for Wounded Warriors Project and other veterans organizations has helped Walton's family tremendously.
"A lot of people are reaching out to the family," Rose said. "The veterans organizations like the VFW and American Legion have really stepped up and helped his wife. Kokomo is just a great place."
A dedication of the home is set for Saturday.
Since Anthony won't be able to attend the dedication, Rose said the Military Foundation is putting together a videogram for him from 8 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Missy's Fitness, 1904 E. Markland Ave., next to Walmart.
"We'll take the DVD down to him at the hospital," said Rose. "We just wanted to send him some encouraging messages."
In the meantime volunteers continue putting the finishing touches on the North Wabash Avenue home in preparation for a dedication Saturday.
"It's coming along pretty good," said Rusty Ferguson, a Chrysler employee.
"We're hoping and praying he'll be back home by Christmas."
Ferguson got involved in the build through a fellow Chrysler worker.
"A lady at work brought me a flier and said they were having trouble getting the house done. So I talked to a couple of friends and we started helping. It's really a unique community effort. It's come together pretty good. It's a good project. It would be neat to see it grow. There's a lot of other wounded warriors out there."
Ferguson said the main priority is Anthony's health.
"How many people do you know who have been shot 37 times and lived? It's unbelievable," said Ferguson.
"The day before he fell, he told me one leg was on fire and the other he said 'I can't feel it, but I'm walking fine.' The main thing is to see him recover. He's had 37 miracles already. In my view, he needs one more for Christmas."
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