Wilkes Co. wounded soldier returns home

WILKES COUNTY, N.C. – A Wilkes County soldier has been recovering in hospitals for the past two years and now he’s finally home for good.

Chance Cleary was serving his first tour in Afghanistan. On May 6, 2012 Cleary was hurt when the Humvee he was driving went over an IED. Cleary’s passenger didn’t make it.

Cleary was rushed to the hospital in critical condition with severe head injuries, several broken bones and was in a coma for weeks.

During his recovery, Cleary was able to come home for a few weeks at a time, but now he’s officially checked out of all the hospitals.

“It really hasn’t set in. It’s going to take a while for it to really set in,” explains Cleary.

He’s still getting used to being at home. “It’s bittersweet though I wish I could still continue to do my job,” he said.

Cleary knows the meaning of strength, support and sacrifice. He visited the gravesite of the soldier that didn’t make it, Thomas Fogarty, who is buried at Arlington National Cemetery last May.

He will never forget the past but he has faith in the future. “What didn’t’ kill me, God has bigger and better plans for me.”

Cleary is planning to go sign up for school next year.

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