|Published:||Jun 01, 2010 7:01 AM EDT|
|Updated:||Jun 01, 2010 3:48 AM EDT|
NAPLES, Fla. - Two severely injured soldiers were honored in Collier County.
Earlier this week, they traveled from Tampa's VA hospital to Naples. Local groups are hosting the soldiers so they can leave the hospital atmosphere and enjoy the royal treatment for Memorial Day.
"The city of Naples, the Mayor has opened his heart to us," Nellie Bagley says.
Her son, Staff Sgt. Jose Pequeno, is one of the soldiers being honored at the Memorial Day concert in Cambier Park.
Pequeno's family has spent the last four years taking care of him after a grenade blasted Pequeno from his Humvee, leaving him paralysed from the neck down and unable to speak.
But not without a way to show his excitement for the day Bagley says.
"He doesn't smile often, it's very rare. This for us, is the first smile he had for a long time. It's beautiful, I was crying, it's great you know," Pequeno's mother says emotionally.
Lance Cpl. John Doody and his family also get front row to listen to singers Michael Peterson and Clint Brown.
Doody was shot three times in the leg while serving in 2007, and then suffered a brain injury. Both soldiers have spent most of their time in hospitals since being hurt in the line of duty.
"The idea is to get them out of a hospital environment and get them into a community such as Naples," organizer Jim Elson with the Collier County Veterans Council explains.
The money raised at the concert goes to help these families take care of the the soldiers, who nearly lost their lives while fighting for other's freedom.
For Pequeno's family it means help to get a home that suits his needs. "To have something like that is really hard to believe, for they have embraced us. And this, for us, is hope," Bagley says.
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