Christmas came a few days early for the family of U.S. Army Spc. Marshall Lane, as the once critically injured soldier returned home to Johnson City Sunday.
After four months of recovery in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Marshall and his wife, Amanda, were ushered home by members of the local Rolling Thunder, his old unit with Army Reserve 7244th Medical Support Unit, as well as lots of friends and family.
Marshall, a combat medic for the 549th Military Police Company, was shot while on patrol in Afghanistan.
Marshall was put on a special form of life support, a ventilator and was flown to Germany for continued treatment of his injuries.
After he was stabilized, he was flown to Walter Reed to start his recovery.
Marshall, who received a Purple Heart, said Sunday that he was now almost completely healed from his combat injuries, with the exception of his kidneys, of which he is currently waiting for a transplant.
With plans of staying in Johnson City for about a month, Marshall said he’s very happy to be home.
“I’m just thankful for everybody coming out and supporting me,” he said. “I can’t even begin to describe how thankful I am for my friends and my family that’s just been there ... not only through my injury, but ... throughout my life.”
Amanda, who had been with Marshall since Aug. 15, was happy to be home with her husband and especially thrilled to see the couple’s now 17-month-old son, Frankie.
“It’s completely amazing to finally be home,” she said. “I missed the mountains. I missed the family, everybody here.”
She said she and Marshall knew that Rolling Thunder would be greeting and escorting them home, but that the turnout of friends and family waiting to see them was remarkable.
“We had no idea exactly how many people would come out,” Amanda said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Family and friends back home held a prayer vigil back in August at Marshall’s home church, New Hope Church of Christ, 4527 Bristol Highway, where they sent up prayers for the soldier’s recovery.
Tina Burleson, Marshall’s childhood neighbor who helped organize and plan his homecoming Sunday, said she was thankful that he was finally able to come home.
“He was just a little kid when we moved here. He’s a good kid. We watched him grow up,” Burleson said. “I just thank God he’s home. I’m so glad that he’s alive and he’s walking.”
As for Marshall, he said he would eventually like to continue duty with the Army, but said he’s happy to be back home for awhile.
“I’m going to relax, catch up with people,” he said. “I love it here.”