East Texas Soldier Still Recovering From Leg Injury - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/15/04-Longview

East Texas Soldier Still Recovering From Leg Injury

Army Corporal Eli Cook of Ore city was critically injured back in August while serving in Afghanistan. Since then, Eli has undergone 22 surgeries on his right leg. His aunt, a coach at Spring Hill, visited him recently at a Washington D.C. hospital.

Eli Cook's recovery has been slow but steady. His aunt, Holly Ford, was able to watch his fight to walk again during a recent visit. "He is making great progress. He was able to walk up and down the parallel bars and move his own foot forward," says Holly.

Eli joined the military two years ago. The family was proud, but they also began to worry when he was sent to Afghanistan. "There was some fear on our part of course because we knew that there was a danger," says Holly.

In August their fears were realized. "He was the driver of their convoy and some Afghanistan insurgents attacked them, ambushed them with some rocket propelled grenades," says Holly.

Eli's vehicle was hit twice. Out of the four soldiers in his convoy, Eli took the brunt of the impact. "Just blasted really. The doctor referred to it as a basketball crater."

Holly says Eli has kept his spirits up, in part because of the support of his family and the military themselves. During Holly's trip, Eli got a special visitor. "Sunday afternoon we were able to meet Donald Rumsfield, the Secretary of Defense and his wife."

After months of repeated surgeries to clean the wound, Holly says doctors believe Eli will learn to walk on his own again. "He is expected to be able to walk, which to me is a miracle.

The day after Holly left she says the President and first lady both made their rounds, visiting injured soldiers.

If you would like to write to Eli just write to patient Corporal Eli Cook. Walter Reed Army Medical center, Fisher House 2, room #9 at 6900 Georgia Avenue NW, Washington D.C. 20307.

Amy Tatum, reporting. atatum@kltv.com

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