By Colleen Ferreira (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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7:13 PM EDT, June 14, 2012
A Mishawaka native who was critically injured while serving in Afghanistan is in good spirits, his sister tells WSBT, because of the outpouring of community support.
Two weeks ago, Sgt. Lucas Oppelt, stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device while serving as a medic with the 82nd Airborne.
Oppelt lost his foot in the blast. He’s already been through several surgeries and there are still more to come. The Mishawaka High School graduate is recovering in the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. Oppelt will likely be there for three months.
“I couldn’t be more grateful that he's here,” said Lucas Oppelt’s sister, Hannah Mapa.
For Mapa, hearing her brother was hurt was the worst feeling a little sister could endure.
"It was hard, but at the same time, it was, you still got your brother don’t you,” Mapa said. She and her family traveled to Washington to be with Oppelt.
"It was like Christmas morning," Mapa said.
Seeing her brother was emotionally taxing, Mapa didn’t let that get the better of her. "If he’s strong enough to be here and recover, then we have to be strong enough for him," Mapa said.
Lucas’ wife, Amy, is with him daily. She's pregnant with their second child. The couple's son, Peyton, is 5.
"Lucas especially is doing great,” Mapa said. “He started physical therapy and can get in and out of the wheelchair." But recovery isn’t always easy. Mapa says for Lucas, it’s mind over matter.
To help the process, a handful of people from the Mishawaka community are stepping in to make this time period less stressful.
"When I heard about him getting hurt I thought it would be a great idea to get a benefit going," said Spc. Hank Eberlin, vice commander of American Legion Post 161 in Mishawaka.
WSBT will bring you details of events benefiting the Oppelts as soon as details are available.
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