Parents of injured soldier say he's a fighter - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Parents of injured soldier say he's a fighter

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- The parents of an eastern Iowa soldier critically injured in Iraq says their son is a fighter and will over come his injuries. Sergeant Ian Ralston of Waterloo was hit in the neck with shrapnel after the vehicle he was riding in was hit by an improvised explosive device or IED.

Ralston is currently being cared for at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C.

Ralston is a 2004 graduate of Waterloo West high and joined the Army straight out of high school. A year ago he re-enlisted for another three years.

His family says they are proud of his service, but last weekend that pride was mixed with terror after a simple phone call.

"The sergeant started giving me the info and I realized this was legit and. It hit me like a ton of bricks," said Steve Ralston, Ian's father.

"It broke his neck in the second vertebrate, C-2 and he has a piece of metal in his neck," said Sue Ralston, Ian's mother.

Ralston's sister was serving in Afghanistan during the time of his injury. The Army made arrangements for her to travel with Ian back to the United States.

"He was just talking with us, full sentences and just really communicating. It was hard work for Ian but he was speaking whole sentences to us," said Steve Ralston.

While his injuries are serious and the road ahead will be a long one, Ian's family says it's a fight he's up for.

"He's strong, he's not going to put up with this and he's going to push the envelope all the way."

In about four weeks Ralston's family is hoping to have him moved to the VA Poly trauma facility in Minneapolis. He will be there for one or two years, but family members say he could be home even sooner. They say his determination is unmatched.


Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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