We're in the parking lot of the American Legion Post 162 in Lemay working on our story right now. Cpl. Tommy Michael is a 24-year-old U.S. Marine from St. Louis. He was wounded in Afghanistan last month. He spent several days in the hospital and is home for some R & R. He'll be getting some more rehabilitation and surgery.
He told us that a mortar had gone off near him. The shrapnel wounded him in the face, upper body and hands. When we asked him how close the mortar was when it went off he said he could have reached out and touched it. All things considered, he's fairly lucky (if you want to call that lucky). He said that was his nickname in the hospital while he was recovering.
Michael's family wanted to have a "welcome home" party for him. Some friends, and friends of friends and complete strangers turned out to honor him. What started out small soon turned big. It snowballed. Several people showed up. The Boy Scouts were here, the St. Louis Fire Department brought out its large flag, the Patriot Guard riders gave him a motorcycle escort, honor guards showed up along with several veterans. One person said tonight it would be nice if some day they could throw a welcome home party like this for all the men and women serving in war zones around the world.