IF YOU GO
What: Homecoming for local wounded veteran U.S. Army Spc. Andrew Smith and wife Tori Smith
When: 6:30-7:30 a.m. Thursday
Where: Wilson Air Center, 932 Jubilee Road, Chattanooga on the private entrance to the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport; shuttles will take people to the arrival site. Occupancy is limited to 250.
Contact Mark Wilson at Steps 2 Hope at www.steps2hope.com or phone 423-267-3708 or mail checks payable to: Generosity Trust; in the memo line write: Steps 2 Hope; 1901 Central Ave., Chattanooga TN 37408.
A Chattanooga soldier who lost his legs in an Afghanistan bomb blast this spring is scheduled to return home early Thursday morning to planned fanfare and honors at his former high school.
U.S. Army Spc. Andrew Smith and his wife, Tori, are expected to arrive at the Wilson Air Center at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport to be greeted by friends, family, students of Chattanooga Christian School and local well-wishers.
The soldier suffered life-threatening wounds, losing one leg at the knee and the other above the knee along with substantial abdominal wounds when he stepped on an improvised explosive device while on a combat foot patrol in Afghanistan on March 8.
Mark Wilson, a local businessman, has formed a nonprofit group called Steps 2 Hope that has a goal of building a home for the Smiths by late spring or early summer 2013.
Wilson helped coordinate the welcome home for the Smiths and said recently that the specialist will be honored during halftime at Chattanooga Christian’s home football game Friday night.
The nonprofit is planning with local businesses to support fundraising through donations and a program called “2 for Andrew,” which encourages residents to donate $2 toward the home-building project.
Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...