Former Tulsa Soldier Injured In Pakistan Returns

Thursday, July 8th 2010, 4:56 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A former Tulsan almost killed in a roadside bombing in Pakistan is back in Green Country. Legrand Strickland was welcomed home by dozens of family, friends, and total strangers.

They took up most of the terminal, carrying signs, waving flags, anxiously checking the arrivals board for someone that some of them know by name only.

"I'm looking around and I see a lot of people that don't know him personally who we know who've wanted to come and show their support so it's been wonderful," Horace Surratt said.

Corporal Legrand Strickland's story has touched a lot of people.

An explosion almost took Strickland's life back in February.

2/10/2010 Related Story: Soldier, Former Tulsan Fighting For Life After Pakistan Bombing

"It was a punch in the gut," Surratt said. "When we heard about how severe the injuries we were so thankful that he was still with us but you still wonder after this passes is he going to make it through?"

Friends Horace and Shannon Surratt worried he wouldn't make it through the head injury, the fractures to his spine, and the loss of both of his legs.

"Oh yeah there was a moment, but I have a lot of faith because he has a lot of faith."

A faith that fueled his speedy recovery and drew dozens to the Tulsa International Airport to welcome this hero home.

"Didn't see you, I was wondering where you were," Shannon said. "You knew i was going to be here for you."

Surrounded by expressions of love and thanks, this soldier was overwhelmed.

"I saw some people I knew back when I first came in the terminal," Strickland said. "But, I thought that was it. And when I got closer, I thought all of these people for me. I couldn't believe it."

Despite all that's happened to him, Strickland says he's grateful.

"It went close to my eye. It could have hit me in the eye. Put my eye out. You can't get a prosthetic for an eye. I mean you can, but it won't work," Strickland said, laughing. "The only thing I can say is I been blessed."

And a terrorist attack couldn't rob him of his sense of humor.

"But the other legs, when I'm done with this, I'll be like 6'2," he said. "If I'm gonna do it, I might as well do it big!"