President Obama visits Glencoe solider in hospital

President Obama visits Glencoe solider in hospital

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President Barack Obama visited SPC Josh Wetzel, a Glencoe native and Army paratrooper, at Walter Reed hospital on Thursday. Photo released by family. President Barack Obama visited SPC Josh Wetzel, a Glencoe native and Army paratrooper, at Walter Reed hospital on Thursday. Photo released by family.
The president speaks with Josh Wetzel and his wife Paige. Photo released by family. The president speaks with Josh Wetzel and his wife Paige. Photo released by family.
President Obama shakes hands with Josh Wetzel. The president visited wounded service members at Walter Reed Hospital just outside of Washington, D.C. Photo released by family. President Obama shakes hands with Josh Wetzel. The president visited wounded service members at Walter Reed Hospital just outside of Washington, D.C. Photo released by family.

Glencoe soldier Josh Wetzel welcomed a high-profile visitor to his hospital room where he's recovering from losing both legs in an explosion in Afghanistan.

President Barack Obama stopped by to visit with Josh Wetzel and his wife Paige while making the rounds to meet wounded service members at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Family members said at one point, the president took Wetzel's hand and they prayed together. In one photograph from the visit, Obama is shown shaking Wetzel's hand while his wife Paige looks on, smiling. Wetzel wore an Auburn T-shirt during his meeting with the president.

Obama flew by helicopter to the Maryland hospital on Thursday to meet 52 wounded service members, including Wetzel. This was the president's first visit to the hospital since early March, according to the AP.

Wetzel was injured May 31 when a roadside bomb went off during a routine foot patrol. He was transported from a hospital in Afghanistan to a hospital in Germany before ending up at Walter Reed for his recovery. His injuries required both of his legs to be amputated. Wetzel also suffered from a fractured neck and fingers.

Support for Wetzel has poured in from his hometown of Glencoe and from others who know the 26-year-old man. A Facebook page, "Prayers for Josh Wetzel," keeps more than 11,000 people updated on Wetzel's progress in the hospital.

A Josh Wetzel fund has been set up through Regions bank allowing donors to contribute toward any of Wetzel's family's expenses not covered by the Army. A Wish Upon a Hero campaign has already raised $2,180 out of a $3,000 goal to help pay for travel costs for Wetzel's wife and mother, who are staying with him at the hospital.

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