GAINESVILLE - A Gainesville Marine has been critically injured in Afghanistan and his family is anxiously awaiting his arrival in the United States.
Hugh Adams says his 19-year-old son Sean, a 2011 graduate of Chestatee High School, is a combat engineer and an expert marksman. The family got the word Friday that Sean had stepped on a land mine.
"He had volunteered to be the point man, the one that went in front of everybody, because he was such a good shot," said Adams.
Adams said some of the information they have received from the military is conflicting, but they do know Sean suffered grave injuries.
"The right leg above the knee, amputation...then it says left leg through the knee, amputation...right hand pinky finger, amputation," said Adams as he read from communication sent to the family by officials at Bastion Role III Medical Treatment Facility.
And there are other wounds, according to Adams. He said his son's left thumb was amputated and his jaw is fractured.
Adams said Sean apparently was transferred to a medical facility in Bagram, and he is expected to be transported to a hospital in Germany and could be flown to Bethesda, Md. as soon as next week.
Both Hugh and his wife Tina will be flown to Bethesda by the military when their son arrives at that facility.
Adams said his son, who had been in Afghanistan since January, had always wanted to be a Marine and spent hours at the recruiting office.
"He wanted to be a Marine since he was 14-years-old," said Adams.
Ever since the family got the word of the incident Friday morning, they've been busy getting the word out to friends and family. Sean has two brothers, Joshua and Curtis, and their families have been working to set up a monetary foundation in Sean's honor. Details of that project are not yet complete.
Tina Adams said area restaurants, including Sean's favorite El Sombrero, have agreed to place donation jars on their counters to collect money that Sean can use when he arrives home to rehabilitate.
While the family deals with the business of planning for their son's return to home soil and his lengthy recuperation, they also are dealing with strong emotions.
Hugh Adams' voice broke as he reflected on the sacrifice Sean has made.
"I am extremely...extremely's not the word...proud of my son. He is the reason that you can go to sleep tonight without fear. He's the reason you can go to church. He's the reason you can go shopping and he's the reason you can get in your car and drive...people like him that are fighting for this country's freedom."