Friends & family welcome home injured Cedar Falls marine - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Friends & family welcome home injured Cedar Falls marine

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

Family and friends are honoring the bravery of a Cedar Falls native, injured in the line of duty.

Sergeant Quentin Hamilton was on his second tour in Afghanistan when he stepped on an improvised explosive device. The January 31st explosion shattered his left foot and leg. He's spent the last few months being treated at a naval hospital in California -- and is hoping to walk again within a year.

On Tuesday, doctors cleared Hamilton to make is first trip since he arrived in the states -- giving him permission to travel to the Cedar Valley for a benefit in his honor.

"I'm so proud of him. I really am," said his mother, Michelle Hamilton.

Dozens of people cheered, and cried, and Hamilton wheeled into the Cedar Falls AMVETs Post #49 Friday evening.

"That's the biggest thing -- the fact that he's alive. It's a miracle. It's a miracle," his mother said.

Four months ago, the 25-year old marine from Cedar Falls survived one of the most difficult days of his life. He unknowingly stepped onto an IED, shattering his left leg and foot, and changing his life forever.

"Same day I got injured, my best friend got killed. So it's a constant reminder that he's gone. And it's been a rough road for myself -- not able to do the things I've been doing, not able to be myself. Cooped up in a chair," said Sgt. Hamilton.

A group in Cedar Falls is hoping to make that road a little easier with Friday's benefit.

"It's amazing," said his sister Ashley Grandon. "All the support from strangers, friends, family. It's almost like there's no such thing as a stranger."

In case you weren't familiar with the family -- each member was proudly sporting their title on the backs of specially designed shirts. There were Big and Little Sister, Grams and Gramps, Nephews One, Two and Three.

And then there's Blood Brother -- Cpl. Jeremy Berryman. Hamilton and Berryman grew up together, and enlisted in the Marines together. When Hamilton's wife Kendra called with news of his injury, Berryman flew across the country to be at his friend's side.

"He's a hero in my mind. No doubt. I look up at him like nobody else," said Berryman.

Hamilton has a hard time grasping the impact he's had on his hometown.

"I'm surprised that so many people came. I didn't think so many people would show support for one marine, when on a daily basis marines, soldiers, and sailors get injured every day. It's just amazing."

But this one marine means the world to his family -- and while the future is going to be tough, they're thrilled to have him home.

Friends have also set up a fund in Hamilton's at Cedar Falls Community Credit Union. All donations will go toward his family's day-to-day recovery expenses.

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