Published: Jul 14, 2010 10:18 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 14, 2010 7:20 PM EDT

Cape Coral, Fla - A Cape Coral soldier is severely injured in Afghanistan.

Private Corey Kent lost both his legs and some of his fingers in an explosion.

His family is devastated by the news, but optimistic of his recovery.

They say he's a natural fighter.

"He's a phenomenal man," said Dan Ashby, Private Corey Kent's step-father.

The 2006 graduate of Mariner High School left college at UCF last year to answer a calling: joining the Army.

"I was happy. Of course his mother was very cautious," Ashby said.

Dan Ashby is not only Corey's step-father he's also a fellow soldier.

Dan served in the military years ago, so when Corey decided to fight for his country, the family supported his decision.

"I'm proud of him. He's a hero," Ashby said.

Private Corey Kent, the soldier, arrived in Afghanistan only three weeks ago.

On Monday his life changed forever.

"He was on foot patrol. He was dismounted. An IED exploded," Ashby said.

An explosion injured Private Kent and his some of his fellow soldiers.

He is among the most seriously injured.

"He lost both legs above the knee. On his left hand he lost all his fingers," Ashby said.

Private Kent also has a collapsed lung and is on a ventilator.

He's currently at a hospital in Afghanistan waiting to be transferred to Germany.

Dan and his wife are anxiously waiting for condition updates, which come every eight hours.

"That's the worst eight hours. She (Dan's mother) wants to know what's going on. That's the worst part," Dan said.

Eventually Private Kent will have surgery and recover at the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington DC.

"He's very strong. I know Corey's going to try and do everything he can possibly can to get back to his normal self," Dan said.

21 years-old, Private Corey Kent's birthday is July 28th.

His parents hope to be with their son, their hero.

"Until we actually get there your mind races. How is doing? What's he feeling? His mom wants to be by his side," Dan said.

A fund is being established to help Private Corey Kent and his family during this difficult time.

It's still being set up, but it's the "PFC Corey Kent family assistance fund".

For information you can contact Karen Gross at 239-849-9363.