Stigler Honors Local Soldier

Saturday, July 8th 2006, 6:35 pm
By: News On 6

An Oklahoma town gives a hero's welcome to one of their own, badly injured in Iraq. The former Stigler football player is now a combat veteran and an amputee.

News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims says a wounded warrior is not letting his injuries hold him back.

Sergeant Nathan Potts says all this fuss isn't exactly what he had in mind, when he decided to come back home to Stigler for a visit. "I was just wanting to come home and see family and friends and not make a big deal about it. But ya'know you let my aunts get involved and it gets blown out of proportion."

His aunts painted the town. Stigler's main street was lined with red, white, and blue, a local store marquee has his name in lights, and signs everywhere proclaim Sergeant Potts a hero.

"Oh yes, yes it feels great to know that I have the support that I have with everything I been through and my family's been through."

His family, his community came very close to losing the 32-year-old soldier. The army medic was deployed in December of 2004 and 33 days before he was supposed to come home he was hit.

Sgt Nathan Potts, Army Medic: "I remember the explosion; I remember falling. And then my next memory is my sergeant major picking me up off the ground."

Potts road to recovery was featured on the CBS evening news. He had to have a rod put in his left leg, and he lost his right, 26 pints of blood, 20 surgeries, and four months of hard work later, Nathan Potts was cycling.

He finished a 110-mile race on a hand-propelled bike in ten hours. Coming in second behind a guy who's been doing it for decades.

Sgt Nathan Potts, Army Medic: "something I didn’t really think I'd do but ya'know I like it so much now I'm just waiting to get a bike of my own to start getting in competition."

Sergeant Nathan Potts says he doesn't think of himself as a hero. But his hometown certainly thinks he is one and they gave him a hero's welcome.

Laneil Price, Stigler Resident: "we're glad to be here to support a hometown boy. We try to support all our troops by praying for em and for their families. And we're sure glad to have Nathan back."

This town swelled with pride when their hero came down the street. He may be a little uncomfortable in the limelight but he still has an important message he wants people to hear.

Sgt Nathan Potts, Army Medic: "there are wounded soldiers that come back every day that need help to get back into society and get on with their lives."

Sergeant Potts is definitely getting on with his life; he's already juggling job opportunities and possibly a new career as a competitive cyclist. But after all of the hard work to get to this point, it's nice to just wrap yourself in the warmth of a town that loves you.