Wounded Marine ready to come home for 'bittersweet' reunion
The (Sterling, Ill.) Daily Gazette
DIXON – Lance Cpl. Adam Devine said Friday that his return to Dixon in July will be “bittersweet.”
As the wounded Marine’s family and friends prepare a benefit party for him to be held July 14, he looks forward to the festivities but regrets he cannot stay.
“I’m pretty excited,” he said during a Skype interview with SVM staff. “I can’t wait to come home. It [is too bad] I can’t stay.”
Devine, 22, will be in Dixon for about 18 days, he said.
Devine lost both legs to an improvised explosive device Dec. 28 in Afghanistan.
He stays in a residential area of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he expects to remain for about a year longer. He has had more than 20 surgeries and dealt with several setbacks during his recovery, but he fully expects to walk and run again.
In late May he was told that a skin graft was only about 5 percent successful. He’s since had two applications of Apligraf on the back of his left leg. That type of healing treatment uses cells from healthy human skin. The first Apligraf seems to have been about 50 percent successful, and speculation would be premature on the success of the second, done June 26, he said.
Devine has been fitted for “shorties” – artificial legs that are closest to the ground. He will be able to use them when he is healed. He will then move on to taller prosthetics with knees, then legs that are closer to actual lengths.
Devine said he had been slightly disheartened when he saw wounded veterans who seemed to have the same injuries he has and they appear to be healing more quickly.
“But it gives you something to strive for,” he said. You can’t change what happened. Why be down?”
He finds it hard to feel sorry for himself because he knows other veterans at the hospital who have lost all of their limbs.
“I’ve been kind of lucky just missing the legs,” he said.
He is able to do cardio workouts with exercise machines at the hospital, including a row machine, a skiing machine and a hand-operated stationary bicycle, he said.
The wound care team at the hospital has a lot of affection for his daughter, Amya, who had her first birthday May 30, he said. The nursing staff threw a second party for her later that day.
While Devine’s family enjoys the friendliness of the hospital staff, he thanked the people of the Sauk Valley for keeping him and his family in their thoughts and for supporting him.
“The outpouring of support from the town and surrounding towns is crazy,” he said. “We never thought I’d lose my legs and that we’d have the support we have.”
A parade in Devine’s honor will be from 11 a.m. to noon July 14 starting at Dixon High School and ending at the Reagan statue at the Riverfront. A benefit party will begin immediately after at the Dixon VFW, 1560 Franklin Grove Road.
Distributed by MCT Information Services