Hero's welcome planned for Brentwood soldier
Chief again spearheads effort, seeks community support
By SUSAN LEATHERS
Brentwood Home Page
For the second time in as many years, Brentwood Police Chief Ricky Watson hopes to spearhead a Christmas miracle. This year he’s trying to get injured Brentwood serviceman Andrew C. Wilson home for the holidays.
Last December, with the help of many local individuals and businesses, Marine Ben Maenza’s Brentwood home was remodeled in less than two weeks making it possible for the young man who lost both legs just month’s earlier in Afghanistan to spend Christmas with his family.
At Monday night’s Brentwood City Commission meeting, Watson announced that Wilson, a 23-year-old Spec. 4 in the U.S. Army and a Brentwood Academy graduate, needs help this year.
|Spec. 4 Andrew Wilson with his parents, Cliff and Kim Wilson, at Walter Reed Medical Center where he is receiving rehab treatment.|
Andrew, the son of Cliff and Kim Wilson of Brentwood and Russ and Gay Bruner of Franklin, was hit Oct. 19 by a dismounted IED while on patrol in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He lost his left leg right above the knee and his right leg right below the knee.
“Other than bad burns to the backs of his legs and his arms, Andrew fortunately did not suffer any other significant injuries to other parts of his body,” Watson shared. A member of the infantry, Andrew was attached to the 10th Mountain Division, based out of Ft. Drum, N.Y.
“Andrew has gone through 11 surgeries since the explosion. He is currently at the new Walter Reed Medical Center which recently merged with the Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Md.,” Watson said. “He is healing rapidly both of body and mind.
“Andrew is very selfless. He has said on several occasions that if he had to give his legs, he is proud to have done it for the United States. He has also said that if someone in his platoon had to be injured, he found comfort that it was himself rather than one of his buddies."
Keeping a positive outlook, Watson said that Andrew will soon receive prosthetic legs and begin related rehab to allow him to walk again soon. “He plans to return to Brentwood and finish his college degree and currently plans on becoming a physical therapist,” Watson said.
Watson has already put things in motion to get Andrew a hero’s welcome, which could come as soon as Dec. 15.
Bill Faeth of Brentwood, COO of Grand Avenue Chauffeured Transportation, is providing a limo ride for Andrew and his family from the airport to his Bonbrook home. Mark McFerran, Director of External Affairs with Brentwood Academy, is helping with the fundraising effort. Tyke Johnson Construction and the Lee Company will provide labor and materials needed to adapt the Wilsons’ home to make it accessible for Andrew. The Homelift Company has found achairlift for the home, Watson said.
Becky Gregory, who coordinated the Yellow Ribbon Campaign that greeted Maenza when he got into Brentwood last year, has volunteered to step up again. Becky Ross with the Wounded Warrior Project will be involved as well. Watson has been in contact with Ben Davis of the Exchange Club to display American Flags along Franklin Road on the day Andrew returns.
Watson said once logistics on Andrew’s return are confirmed, he hopes citizens will turn out to line the route the limo will take to welcome him home. More information on that will be forthcoming as it is available.
Watson said $300-$500 is needed to pay for the ribbons and building permits. A bank account has been set up at Regions Bank for donations. Checks can be made out to the Andrew Wilson Fund.
“Any extra money will be sent to the bank account for Andrew,” Watson said, to help with any additional expenses related to his recovery.