More than a hundred people gathered outside Pfc. Corey Kent’s parents’ home in Cape Coral Tuesday to raise an American flag in his honor and to break ground on a new addition he’ll soon call home.
The disabled young veteran thanked his community for chipping in to help him get on with his life after he was nearly killed.
“I’m not much of a public speaker but I just wanted everyone to know that I really appreciate all the support I’ve gotten,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive community.”
Kent graduated from Mariner High School in Cape Coral and then joined the Army and was sent to Afghanistan. A year ago, on July 12, he lost both his legs above the knee and part of one hand in an explosion. Since then, the 22-year-old has been recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and learning how to walk on prosthetic legs.
“It’s kind of slow at first but once you get the basics it starts to speed up and you progress faster. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to run eventually but we’ll just see what happens,” he said.
Right now, Kent still spends most of his time in a wheelchair. And, odds are that chair will be with him for some time. So, members of the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association teamed up with the Southwest Florida-based, non-profit U.S. Forces Fund to help.
Todd Gates of Gates Construction is the lead contractor building a 500-square-foot addition valued at $70,000 onto the back of the family’s home.
“We’re trying to achieve some independence for Corey because obviously he’s a grown man needs his own independence but at the same time he’s going to be here with his family….It’s actually a self sustained apartment -- very, very comfortable,” he said.
Kent, along with his mother, Tiffany Ashby, leaves Aug. 7 for more rehabilitation at Walter Reed. Ashby said there’s a long road ahead – but if anyone can do it – her son can.
“There’s a lot of soldiers that are still up in D.C. and they’re going through the same thing and lot of families that are in the same predicament that we are and we just kind of lean each other, and help each other through it,” she said.
Kent will likely spend most of the next year at Walter Reed in rehab – learning to how to use his new legs. He says he’s looking forward to living in his new apartment when he gets home.
The message is meant to tell motorists vehicle collisions are among the leading causes of panther deaths.
As of July 12, seven Florida panthers have died on southwest Florida roads this year.
The Farmworker Association of Florida is asking the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the fumigant pesticide methyl iodide. The organization says if the pesticide is not used correctly, it could put workers who may be exposed to it in tomato, pepper and strawberry fields at risk. WGCU’s Jenny Tavery reports.
Hundreds of family, friends and strangers greeted Corey Kent at Southwest Florida International Airport. The 22 year-old Army private flew in from Washington D.C. where he has been rehabilitating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Wearing prosthetic legs, Kent maneuvered his wheelchair through the crowd of supporters and announced his plans.
“I’m probably just going to take a day to relax, catch up with friends and family that I haven’t seen too much, and take it from there,” said Kent.
Kent will be home for one month before returning to Walter Reed to continue his physical therapy. President Obama awarded him the Purple Heart last summer. This week a local nonprofit begins an addition on his family’s Cape Coral house so that Kent can live independently when he returns home for good next year.
Preliminary fights for the Women’s National Golden Gloves boxing championship are underway in Punta Gorda this week. Fifty-five young women are competing to represent the United States in the 2012 Olympic Summer games in London. WGCU’s Valerie Alker has this look into the world of women’s amateur boxing.
Several hundred divers and snorkelers are expected to submerge for the 27th annual Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival on Looe Key Reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary on Saturday.
The ocean- and water-themed selections ranging from the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" to humpback whale songs and "water music" created by local musicians are piped underwater via Lubell Laboratory speakers suspended beneath boats positioned above the reef. Organizers say the sound quality is clear, with an ethereal effect caused by the sound waves' transmission through water. READ MORE
The ACLU sued to end Florida’s so-called “Rocket Docket” but the Second District Court of Appeal declined to hear the case.
Lee County Clerk of Court Charlie Green, who helped come up with the process, said plaintiffs were treated fairly. READ MORE
Lee County Schools have a new superintendent as Dr. Joseph Burke was sworn in Friday morning.
Serving as Monroe County’s superintendent prior to accepting the job in Lee, Burke has also worked for the Miami-Dade County public school system and for the public school system in Springfield, Mass. READ MORE
They said the cost of background checks could deter some people from volunteering. Scott said eliminating them posed a risk to vulnerable seniors. Carole Green, secretary of the Department of Elder Affairs under Gov. Jeb Bush, agrees with Scott. READ MORE