Niles Marine sole survivor of Afghanistan attack

July 24, 2009 (NILES, Ill.) Now, the Niles-based family of Dominic Davila is trying raise money for a trip to Maryland where the Marine will be taken for treatment.

Supported by comforters, Elizabeth Davila cried tears of joy Friday, grateful that her son Dominic Davila was still alive.

"I thank God he's alive," she said tearfully.

The family of the Marine lance corporeal learned of his near demise Thursday afternoon when military headquarters in Virginia notified them his convoy fell prey to an insurgent's bomb in Afghanistan.

"As a result, he will have to have his right leg below the knee amputated. He [also] has a left-ankle dislocation fracture," said Cassie Bialas, the wounded soldier's cousin.

Davila sustained other injuries, as well. His family members say they haven't figured out how to tell him he was the only survivor of the attack.

Davila has already been transferred to Germany for further medical treatment and could soon be back in the United States for the first time since marrying his sweetheart back in February.

"It's hard. We thank God he's alive. We're not planning a funeral," the wounded soldier's aunt Rose Bialas said.

The 22-year-old was on his second tour of duty in the Afghanistan region after serving a seven-month stint in Iraq. Relatives say, after the military, Davila wanted to spend time with his family, including his dog Sonny, as he pursued his dream to become a Chicago police officer.

That has all changed now.

Although the military is providing plane tickets and lodging for the soldier's parents and wife, his sister, Michelle Davila, still struggles with how to pay for other relatives to go Maryland, where Davila will begin his long recovery.

"I feel like I need to be with him just so he knows that he has my support," she said.

Davila's family is hoping for some financial assistance. The soldier's father is the sole bread winner in the home. Relatives hope to gather enough donations to rotate various extended family members to the East Coast as Dominic Davila heals.

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