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Wounded soldier returns home to Wilmington with optimistic outlook on future

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Sergeant James Pierce came home to a hero’s welcome last weekend. Now, he must work to get his body, mind and spirit healed after surviving the devastating attack that killed another local soldier.

Sergeant Pierce was attacked by a suicide bomber in Khost, Afghanistan while on patrol in October. The explosion ripped through Pierce’s body, collapsing his lung, breaking his arm and shattering his leg. Since the accident, he has been working on building his strength and healing but he’s not complaining.

“Honestly, I’ve been trying to be pretty positive about it and it’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do with what happens to you that defines who you are,” Pierce said.

Pierce and Hampstead native Sergeant T.J. Butler were in the same unit the day of the attack. Butler did not survive the blast. Now, Pierce says he is working to be more like Butler. He says Butler was an inspiration on how to live.

“He was a really good guy,” said Pierce. “Whenever you think about somebody, even though he’s passed, all you have are the memories. When you remember him you think ‘man, he was a straight forward dude and just a wonderful person’.”

Pierce has a long road of recovery ahead of him, but he says he is living his life to the fullest. He says once he is better, he plans to re-enlist in the National Guard. Pierce says although he is wounded in his time overseas, he was made to protect and serve.

“You stand up for what you believe in and I stand up for this country,” Pierce said. “I stand up for this community. I stand up for the people and I will stand up for them and whatever the nation wants or needs, I’ll be there.”

The one thing Pierce said he wanted the community to know through our coverage was how grateful he was of all their support and encouragement.

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