Explosion injures East Texas soldier

Private First Class Matthew Harris and his wife have a one-year-old son.
Private First Class Matthew Harris and his wife have a one-year-old son.
Harris' mother and brother. Photo source: Jeremy Hefner
Harris' mother and brother. Photo source: Jeremy Hefner

By Lakecia Shockley - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

LEVERETT's CHAPEL, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas soldier is fighting for his life after an explosion in Afghanistan. 19-year-old Matthew Harris of Leverett's Chapel, suffered burns on 40 percent of his body in the non-combat explosion.

For 17-year-old, Amanda Harris, the news of her big brother being wounded is almost unbearable.

"I was thinking, 'Oh my gosh, this is my brother!'" said Harris. "Like, I can't live without him. He is...the closest thing to me. He's my strength really."

That call came first, to Amanda and Private Harris' mother in Waco.

"When I got that call at 10:19 yesterday morning...[they] told me that my son was involved in an explosion," said Bunny Mrosko. "You don't know if your son is OK. You can't touch your son. You can't see your son."

Little did she know then, her son would undergo three surgeries at Lanstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

"Waist up he has between first and second degree burns all over waist up," said Mrosko. "[His] eye brows, eye lashes and hair have been singed off...his left arm is nothing but flesh. I mean, he has no flesh on his arm."

Private Harris' family says his wife, and one-year-old son are what keep him fighting to recover. And, his family wishes they could take his place.

"My other son is in Colorado, and he left a message on his MySpace page, and it says, 'I wish it was me and not my little brother,' and that just broke my heart," said Mrosko.

"I know he's very strong," said Harris. "He'll pull through anything. He always has."

As the family hopes for the best, Leverett's Chapel School District prays for all of them.

"They have meant a lot to this community," said Mark Perry, the high school principal. "All of the kids have been very involved in the academics and athletics here, so yeah, the whole community is praying for them."

Private Harris has been under heavy sedation ever since the explosion. His mother, wife, and son plan to fly to either Germany, where Harris is recovering, or to Washington DC.

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