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Seriously injured Marine returns home to Oklahoma

Updated:
Oklahoman Jeff Hudgens got a loud and loving welcome back Friday. Jeff is the 19-year old Tahlequah Marine who was seriously injured last year by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

News on 6 anchor Scott Thompson followed Jeff's progress through therapy earlier this year at the VA hospital in Tampa.

Jeff is walking slowly now with just the help of a cane. His Marine buddies, his family and even complete strangers showed up at the airport Friday to cheer his return. Jeff's still hampered by vision and speech problems, but he's made believers out of many of his doctors.

Jeff’s mom Sandra Hudgens: "It's a slow process but he has made so much more progress than any of the doctors ever thought possible at this point."

Jeff Hudgens: “I don't think words can describe it, it's just awesome."

Jeff lost a large portion of his skull to the roadside bomb, and that's since been replaced by an exact acrylic mold. He's also dealing with the continuing effects of two strokes.

Through it all, Jeff says his goal is to walk again without a cane. And he'd love to be able to swim again, too.
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