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Wounded soldier visits Kearney
Staff Sergeant Alex Jauregui was deployed for 42 months, and served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Today he landed in Nebraska for a very important visit to meet someone for the first time.
In April of this year, during his last tour in Afghanistan, Staff Sergeant Alex Jauregui, was patrolling the area for IEDs.
He found two, exploded the first, and was walking with his Paton Sargent to the second one.
"I gave him a little bit of distance because it's such heavily IEDed area that we normally walk between 5 and 7 meters apart. So I gave him a little bit of distance after that I stepped off and it was my second step I stepped on the 3rd IED," said Staff Sgt. Alex Jauregui, Injured Soldier.
Alex lost both of his legs below the knee, as well as the tips of two fingers, and lost all of his hearing in his right ear and nearly all in the left.
"At the end of June he was able to walk on his prosthetics after getting hit in April. And Saturday was the first time he ran on his prosthetics. It's amazing how fast he's overcome it," said Operation Sgt. Dean Reicks, Nebraska National Guard.
"I had a pretty fast recovery; I think a lot of that has to do with your mental state," said Jauregui.
But part of the story begins back in 2007 when Alex was serving in Iraq.
"He was instrumental in recovering Sgt. Matheny from a McCook's body after an IED blast in 07," said Reicks.
In February 2007, Alex pulled deceased Sergeant Randy Matheny of McCook from a burning vehicle.
"Sgt. Matheny was already passed. The IED blast was almost instantaneous. His actions going into that burning armored vehicle allowed the Matheny family to have an open casket and a viewing of Randy and that's important for the closure," said Reicks.
"I just am amazed that he did what he did and I'm just grateful," said Jan Collins, Sgt. Matheny's Mother
Since then, Alex has stayed in touch with Sgt. Matheny's mother, Jan Collins.
And today after over five years, he got to meet Jan in person for the first time.
"I was going to surprise him because I wasn't going to get to meet him until the weekend. But we decided I'd sneak out and get to see him and surprise him," said Collins.
" I finally get to meet her and I'm really excited about it," said Jauregui.
It's all part of a hero flight.
Hero flights are for wounded soldiers to give them one more wish and for Alex, it was to come to Nebraska.
"They might be doing a wounded warrior hunt. They might be doing a visit like this. Walt the CEO of the organization said this is the first time he's had a request to visit a family of a fallen soldier and that's what made it so honorable," said Reicks.
Sergeant Jauregui will be spending Veteran's Day and the day after with Matheny's.
Until then, he will be spending time with some of his old troops.
And one thing he's most excited for?
A duck hunt this weekend, since he's never been.
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