Los Angeles News
Luke's Wings brings wounded US Marine home for Christmas
LANCASTER, Calif. (KABC) -- The fact U.S. Marine Cpl. Joshua Lopez is walking at all is incredible. The fact that he's joining his wife and two sons for Christmas Eve dinner at home is about as good as it gets.
"It's just this feeling 'I'm home!' It's almost indescribable," said Lopez.
In April of last year, Joshua posed for a picture on his third tour of Afghanistan. Just three hours later, an IED exploded under his feet.
"I apparently went 20 feet in the air," said Joshua. "I went past my guys on the roof, came back down and shattered my pelvis."
Joshua underwent more than 40 surgeries. His leg had to be amputated under the right knee. He's slowly learning to walk again using prosthetic legs at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
"It took me awhile to get out of the 'I was blown up and I don't have a leg bubble' so it's like the world to me to have my family around."
Joshua's family says they were able to go from their home in Lancaster to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland thanks to an organization called Luke's Wings.
The non-profit organization provides free flights for wounded veterans and their loved ones.
The Lopez family says they've taken more than 30 such flights.
"He needed that support from the family to be there with it and we couldn't have afforded it," said Joshua's father, Carlos Lopez.
"Having an organization like Luke's Wings that brings the families together and were able to say, 'hey, we're not giving up', I saw that it did make a difference and I witnessed a lot of families say the same thing," said Joshua's mother, Jessica Lopez.
The best flight of all provided by Luke's Wings is Joshua's flight to spend Christmas with his wife and sons at home.
"It's amazing having him home," said Joshua's wife, Jennifer Lopez.
"I've always grown up that gifts don't make Christmas, families make Christmas. Having a family of my own, it's a world of difference," said Joshua.
Cpl. Lopez is returning to Walter Reed in the beginning of January.For more information on Lukes Wings, visit lukeswings.org.
afghanistan war, u.s. military, u.s. troops, holiday, los angeles news, elex michaelson
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