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Injured Revere grad coming home for celebration of life

12/6/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

The Hale family will be at the special event to welcome Army Staff Sgt. Aaron Hale home for a visit Dec. 8 at Revere High School. Shown from left are Mackenzie, Bailey, Cameron (on lap), Kelly, Aaron and Sheldon Hale.
Photo courtesy of Kelly Hale
RICHFIELD — Aaron Hale’s life changed a year ago, and a special event planned this weekend will help him reconnect with friends and family and thank them for their support.

Hale, 34, a 1996 graduate of Revere High School, is a U.S. Army sergeant and is part of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (760th). Last Dec. 8, he was injured trying to defuse a bomb in Afghanistan. Shrapnel broke all of his facial bones, fractured his skull, tore his eardrums and permanently blinded him, according to Dr. Sonny Bare, a longtime friend and fellow Revere classmate.

“He has had multiple reconstructive surgeries all over the East Coast and the South,” Bare said, with the most recent one taking place about three weeks ago. “He’s going to have more surgeries to come.”

The homecoming event will take place Dec. 8 at 4:30 p.m. at Revere High School, 3420 Everett Road.

Bare is coordinating the event with Hale’s wife, Kelly, 34, a Florida native who has had her own setbacks this year after discovering she had metastatic melanoma. Bare said she is currently undergoing chemotherapy.

“She’s doing pretty well,” Bare said. “She’s obviously taking care of and helping with Aaron’s rehab quite a bit. Imagine having a spouse undergo that, and then you have your own health problems. It’s pretty overwhelming.”

The couple’s home base is in Florida, but they have had to live out of suitcases due to all the travel for surgery and rehabilitation for Hale, Bare said. Their four children — Sheldon, 17; Bailey, 13; Mackenzie, 11; and Cameron, 2 — have stayed with them, he added.

“It’s been important for them to be a pretty tight unit and tight family,” Bare said.

For the Akron visit, the children will fly, but Kelly and Aaron Hale will travel by train from Florida for the homecoming, as Aaron is not able to fly due to his injuries, Bare said. The trip will be his first time home since his injury, Bare added.

“It’s basically a homecoming event for Aaron,” Bare said. “It was Kelly’s idea. She wanted Aaron to have a homecoming celebration party a year from his injury date. She felt like it would be an important event for him and a wonderful time for both of them to thank the community for support and catch up with friends and family.”

Bare said as word of the event has spread, he’s heard a lot of positive feedback.

“People are really excited to get to thank [Aaron] in person,” he said. “He’s got more courage in a day than myself and most of us can muster in a lifetime. A lot of people just want to thank him and appreciate all his sacrifices.”

He added the support the family has received from others is one thing that has helped keep them positive despite their trials.

“One of the things that’s been helpful for them is to have continual support even months after this has happened,” Bare said. “Each day is such a fight for them. They need a lot of support from the community and friends and family long term.”

Kelly Hale said the family can be helped financially through the Sgt. Aaron C. Hale Benevolent Fund that has been set up at FirstMerit Bank. 

For additional information on the Dec. 8 event, call 330-523-3202.

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