Texas Army Sgt. special guest at Eagles' camp
August 1, 2012 (WPVI) -- An Army Sergeant from Texas was at the Eagles training camp this week as Andy Reid's special guest.
Two years ago, the sergeant was nearly killed outside Baghdad. He credits a letter from the Eagles coach with giving him the strength to fight through his injuries.
His story is one you won't soon forget; a life-long Eagles fan, who never lived in Philadelphia, and a coach who took the time to send him some encouragement when he needed it the most.
"It surprised me a lot that a head coach on my favorite team would write me a letter," said Sgt. Mike Thomas.
Sergeant 1st Class Mike Thomas says the Eagles have been his favorite team ever since he was a kid growing up in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
He now lives in San Antonio, Texas, and he has managed to attend at least one game a year for as long as he can remember.
In April of 2010, Sgt. Thomas was leading a convoy in Baghdad.
"When we got out, we started walking and checking out the place. That was the last thing I remember," Sgt. Thomas said.
An IED explosion left Thomas critically injured. He underwent four brain surgeries and reconstructive plastic surgery.
His family reached out to the Eagles organization and received the letter from Reid the next month after Thomas emerged from a 20-day coma.
"It just meant everything to me," said Sgt. Thomas.
"It was a humbling experience because it gave him a little inspiration during that tough time to kick in and continue to push himself," said Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid.
As Thomas showed off his Brian Dawkins tattoo on his left arm and his tattoo of Veterans Stadium on the other side, the coach had nothing but praise for the recipient of his letter.
"He's one of the guys protecting our country so we can do the things we do here," Reid said.
Thomas says only one thing could make it better.
"You have to get on the road to the Super Bowl man, that's it," said Sgt. Thomas.
Sgt. Thomas still has some challenges to face. He suffered a seizure on the way to Lehigh this week, but he says whenever he is feeling dejected, he looks at his framed letter from the coach, and he remembers that Andy Reid told him not to give up.
That is something that he has promised himself he will never do.
lehigh county, pennsylvania, local/state, lisa thomas-laury
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