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Valley soldier recovering following IED blast

Friday, February 03, 2012

A Valley soldier injured by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan is back home in Reedley.

20-year-old Private First Class Geoffrey Quevedo lost his left foot and part of his left arm, among many other injuries, when his U.S. Army unit was attacked two months ago.

Following the explosion, Quevedo surprised his doctors. He took just two weeks to sit himself up in his hospital bed. Now he's out of bed and moving around on his own.

More than two dozen family, friends and strangers gave Quevedo a welcome home like only a hero deserves.

The baby-faced warrior still stands as a proud soldier despite nearly losing his life during an insurgent attack in Afghanistan. "We were doing a patrol and an IED went off, took myself and my friends out," he said. "I just remember a snap and that's it."

As Quevedo came out of his haze he realized he was in a hospital bed. His foot and part of his arm had been amputated. The vision in his left eye was also gone.

"I have no regrets of what I did, nothing. And my life ain't over yet. If god would have wanted me away, he would have took me, but he didn't," Quevedo said.

He says the people who surprised him Friday with a welcome home party are his motivation to recover. "You just gotta keep going up, and then I got all these people supporting me, I can't let them down," he said.

Quevedo is in undergoing physical therapy at a hospital on Palo Alto. His sister, Zugey Quevedo, said visits there from his family childhood friends and former teachers keep his spirits up.

"It's been amazing, to see where we were at two months ago, in ICE," she said. "And then the next week to see him sit up in bed. And to see him now, he doesn't want to use the wheel chair, he gets tired, but he's so adamant that he wants to continue."

Robert Firestine is not a war veteran like most other Patriot Guard members, but his mission is just the same. "He's a hero and a soldier," Firestine said. "And we owe our freedom and our free way of life to these soldiers."

Quevedo's recovery is far from over as he's still adapting to new limitations.

"I don't let it slow me down," Quevedo said. "Life throws you speed bumps and you just gotta run right over them and keep going."

Quevedo will head to San Diego early next week to be fitted for prosthetics. He's excited about that because he said he can't wait to run get back to chasing after his 2-year-old little girl.

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reedley, fresno county, local, rick montanez
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