Benefit held for returning soldier

February 7, 2012 4:39:58 AM PST
A benefit was held Monday for the only soldier from northwest Indiana to survive an explosion in Afghanistan less than a month ago.

Sergeant Doug Rachowicz has undergone multiple surgeries following the attack that killed four fellow national guardsmen.

Hammond VFW Post 7881 was packed. A line formed out to door for all those who wanted to support an injured soldier.

Rachowicz Mother "What we do for our soldiers is never enough," said Kathy Rachowicz, Doug's mother. "It's just amazing.

Kathy Rachowicz says the whole experience has been surreal, with friends and strangers showing up for a fundraiser for her son.

Sergeant Doug Rachowicz is still hospitalized in Bethesda Maryland with broken bones in his face, back, pelvis and foot.

He was the only one of five of his fellow Indiana National Guardsmen to survive an explosion in Afghanistan.

Monday night, tacos were on the menu, but the real draw was to help a soldier.

Lora Stozek Sister It's overwhelming," said Stozek. "We didn't realize all the outpouring of support we would have."

One man who doesn't know Sgt Rachowicz gave the family $1,000, and the wife of another guardsmen is selling stickers to raise money for the family.

Kathy Rachowicz Mother "When he's home permanently, we don't know if he'll need a wheelchair, if he'll need a scooter, a ramp built," said Kathy Rachowicz. "All of that remains to be seen.

The widow and relatives of fallen soldier, Specialist Brian Leonhardt, attended the fundraiser.

Despite their grieving, his widow said tonight they were to focus on supporting Sgt. Rachowicz and his family.