Wednesday, December 26, 2007

When Christmas really hits home

Stories like this really have a way of hitting me right in the gut the minute I start reading it.

From the Jackson Citizen-Patriot:
A Chelsea family got a Christmas gift even Santa couldn't deliver -- Army Staff Sgt. Michael Montange back home after spending months in a Washington D.C. hospital and years overseas.

Montange, 28, who was nearly killed in an explosion in Iraq, is spending his first Christmas in 10 years in his hometown.

As he touched down at Jackson County Airport shortly after 1 p.m. Monday, he was greeted by family members and more than 20 local firefighters and other well-wishers.

"It feels really good to be back," Montange said while leaning back in a wheelchair covered in a fleece race car blanket. "I haven't made it home for a holiday in quite some time."

He'll be home for almost two weeks.


On Aug. 22, Michael Montange, a member of the 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division, was 15 miles north of Baghdad when he was injured by an improvised explosive device. The projectile pierced his buttock and exited through his opposite hip.

His uncle said he "flat-lined" three or four times, underwent 38 surgeries and needed more than 170 units of blood.

He has lost about 40 percent of his intestines and will have to live the rest of his life with a colostomy bag, Mark Montange said.

"He is taking bets he will be walking by April," he said of his nephew.

This is his third time being wounded, family members said, but the soldier considers it his second. The first time, he said he just had a few pieces of metal stuck in him that he pulled out and forgot about by the next month.

Merry Christmas, Staff Sgt. Montage. Welcome home, and there's many of us pulling for you for a speedy recovery, and I'll be thinking of you as adjust to life as an ostomate.