Wounded soldier returns from Walter Reed Medical Center
By: Carly O'Keefe
By: Carly O'Keefe
ANNA, Ill. - Just a few miles from home, U.S. Army Sergeant Daniel Alderman was all smiles. He was escorted into his hometown of Anna Saturday afternoon and passed several signs of support welcoming him back to the Heartland.
"You go by and you see one banner and you see all the flags, and the people alongside the road. It's just a great reception, and I feel like what I've done for our country--everyone appreciates it, and I haven't been forgotten," said Alderman.
It's more than the service to his country that folks are grateful for. Alderman paid a great price in serving. He lost his left leg from the knee down after his Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq back in November. But according to him, it could have been worse.
"That's one thing that gets me through every day is that, I'm one of the lucky ones. I have what they call the smallest amputation. They call me the ‘paper cut kid' at Walter Reed," said Alderman. "After five months, I can run, or I will be able to run when I get my new leg, but there are guys who've been there for years and are still learning to walk."
Alderman jokes that when all's said and done he'll have a leg for every occasion: swimming, running, walking, you name it. And in case you couldn't tell, his sense of humor has helped keep his spirits high through what for many would be a devastating experience.
"I knew my leg was gone, I coped with it. When I was in Germany, I was already making jokes about it," said Alderman.
He's also had a lot of help from the home front. After Alderman's amputation, his mom Donna Sheffer, met him at Walter Reed Medical Center. During her time there she spoke with other families and saw many wounded soldiers other than her son.
"Once you're over that initial shock of everything, it's like what can I do to make a difference?" said Sheffer.
That's when Sheffer started the Patriotic Patch Puppy Project. She and volunteers hand quilt pillows that offer comfort to wounded soldiers by protecting amputated areas in bed or in transport. So far, they've sewn well over 100.
"I don't think it would have happened without what happened to him. At church the other day they said you take unfortunate situations and make them good, and I think that's what my husband and I have done," said Sheffer.
Daniel got the first Patriotic Patch Puppy Pillow. He said when you're hurt; it helps to have something from home to hold onto.
"It's just a small thing someone could do for wounded soldiers like myself, and it's something some soldiers around the world can experience," said Alderman.
Alderman is on convalescent leave, and will return to Walter Reed Medical Center soon to continue his rehabilitation.
To make your own Patriotic Puppy Patch Pillow for a wounded soldier, call 618-833-8216.
If you'd like to send donations for postage to mail the pillows to soldiers mail a check payable to "Camp Ground Church" in the memo section write "Patriotic Puppy Project".