Posted by Nick Dutton - email
MAUMEE, OH (WTOL) – Less than three months after being seriously wounded, a soldier from Maumee is making big strides towards recovery and is home with his family for the holidays.
First Army Specialist Rob Cadena received life-threatening injuries serving as a medic for the 173rd Airborne 191 Calvary in Afghanistan.
Cadena's life took a dramatic turn when he helped get a wounded soldier to safety.
"A round went off. It was a 762 round and it hit me in the chest," said Cadena. "At first, I thought my legs were gone. I didn't know what happened."
The road to recovery has been a long one.
After 12 surgeries and stops in Germany, Walter Reed Hospital and now The Brooks Medical Center in San Antonio, Cadena is still healing.
In fact, Cadena says his pancreas is still leaking, so he has a tube installed that runs from one side of his body to the other.
"I still have a tough time walking. I'm not full strength [and] I have a wheelchair," said Cadena.
The Maumee High School graduate says being home with his family is the best gift he will receive this Christmas.
"I didn't know if I was going to see my daughter again. It makes you happy to see everybody," said Cadena.
However, while spending time with his daughter and his fiancee while on leave, Cadena wants folks to think about his armed forces family serving overseas.
"It seems a lot of people have forgotten about the people in Afghanistan, Iraq," said Cadena. He says even small things like letters and care packages mean the world to soldiers far from home.
Additionally, Cadena says he wants to pursue a career in physical therapy to help wounded soldiers.
"I want to help these guys that I see with no legs, no arms… get better to try to get back into society," he said.