VIRGINIA BEACH -- A severely wounded soldier's father is grateful his son is still alive, and thankful to co-workers for pitching in to assist with the young Army Ranger's recovery.
"I pray every night for the families that lose kids," said Rick "Fitz" Fitzpatrick. "I never thought I'd be one, and I almost was. It's just a tougher place than I ever thought I'd be."
It was June 26th, and Fitzpatrick's son, Sgt. Sterling Levi Eaves, was on his third combat deployment when his humvee was struck by a 300-to-500-pound improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. The 28-year old soldier suffered broken bones, severe nerve damage to his lower extremities, and until a week or so ago, was in a coma.
This week, on Tuesday, Levi got a surprise, when he was visited in Walter Reed National Medical Center by President Barrack Obama. Another major surprise took place Friday in Virginia Beach, where Fitzpatrick's colleagues at Steel Master USA presented him with a check for $1,000, to go towards Levi's needs.
"I told them not to do," said Fitzpatrick "It's too much. I want stuff for him. It's not about me. The kid needs anything he can get. Prayers. I ask everybody to pray. That's the only thing you can do right now. And that's the best thing we can do."
Levi recently re-enlisted for six more years in the Army.
Friends and family have set up a Facebook page with information about the "Levi Strong" campaign. It's called "Latest on Levi."