FOSTORIA - A U.S. Army veteran from Fostoria who was injured in Iraq is to participate in an event in New York put on by the foundation of a journalist who also was injured in battle.
Shane Parsons, who was deployed to Iraq in 2005, was driving the lead Humvee for a mission Sept. 30, 2006, when he and his gunner were hit by a group of explosives. The 21-year-old went into cardiac arrest, suffered a traumatic head injury, lost both legs above his knees and was revived.
This week, Shane, who retired as a sergeant about two years ago, and his mother, Cindy, are to participate in Bob Woodruff Foundation's Stand up for Heroes event. Woodruff, a journalist, was injured in Iraq and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Shane is to appear on the outside portion of "Good Morning America" Thursday.
"We love New York. ... It's fun just to watch the people. People are amazing," Cindy said.
Cindy said they are to leave Monday for New York and are to be there until Thursday. The event includes a dinner, comedy show and Bruce Springsteen concert. She said she learned officials are going to do makeovers for the mothers and wives for the dinner.
"It's a dress-up thing," she said.
Cindy and Shane are to visit the Sept. 11 memorial and construction site and have lunch with contractors who had a part in erecting it.
After "Good Morning America," Shane and Cindy are to leave for Texas to participate in Wounded Warrior Project's Soldier Ride, which uses adaptive equipment.
"I am going to be speaking at the beginning of the Soldier Ride," Cindy said.
Cindy said Shane's trainer has been working with him for several weeks to prepare him for the ride and will be riding with him. Cindy also is to participate in the race.
"I can't keep up with him. ... I'm not as good as they are, but I will try my best," she said.
After Cindy and Shane's trip to New York, Cindy's brother-in-law, John McClellan, is to start walking from Fostoria to Chicago to promote awareness of wounded warriors and post-traumatic stress disorder. John's son, Joshua McClellan, who is Shane's cousin, served two tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq.
"(John) decided that he wanted to do something. ... I think this is great," Cindy said.
John, 59, said he is leaving for Chicago Nov. 14 and plans to walk between 28 and 30 miles a day.
"It's incredible," Joshua said of his father's effort.
Joshua, a specialist who works for Army National Guard, said his father wants to raise $20,000. He said he is going on the trip and is going to be driving his father's van. They are going to remove the back seats and place an air mattress in it. He said he and his mother, Annette, have mapped out the stops, and his father hopes to arrive at the Wounded Warrior Project regional office in Oakbrook, a suburb of Chicago, Nov. 22.
"I mapped it out to where we have a community to stop in," he said.
Joshua was involved in an explosive blast during his last deployment to Afghanistan in September 2009. He said he has dealt with many issues with nightmares and depression, but has been sober for 20 months and hasn't had a cigarette in more than 2 1/2 years.
"I'm doing pretty well," he said.
Joshua said he still remembers the night he found out about Shane's accident. He said his cousin doesn't feel sorry for himself and is not a vengeful person.
"He's my hero, I know that. ... He still works hard every day at making himself better," he said.