Pfc. Daniel Tingle, 21, a 2004 graduate of Douglas High School, was seriously injured over the weekend in Baghdad when he was struck by a mortar round.
His mother, Tina Luce, 44, said her son is undergoing treatment at a military hospital in Germany in an effort to save his left foot. She expects him to be transferred to Walter Reed Military Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., as soon as he is able to travel.
"I got a phone call from Daniel on Saturday morning telling me he was injured and it was pretty serious," Luce said. "They're trying to save his foot."
The young soldier left a voicemail message on his stepfather's cell phone just hours after he was injured.
"It will break your heart to listen to it," Luce said. "You could barely understand him. He said he was hurt. Then he said, 'Just tell Mom, and take care of her.' He knew I would be upset."
She said she has been able to speak with him since the incident, and that he has undergone more surgery.
As a registered nurse, Luce said she knows what lies ahead.
"He is devastated thinking he may not be able to go back," Luce said. "One of the first things he said to me was that he wasn't finished. He told his first sergeant, 'I am not done. I want to go back.'"
She said coming from a military family, she understands her son's commitment. She served four years as a U.S. Navy corpsman, her father and grandfather served in both World Wars and a brother served three tours in Vietnam.
"Daniel's goal was to get into the military. That is his life," she said. "He knew what he was getting into, he knew the danger. But we come from that stock."
Tingle, who is based at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colo., is a motor pool driver with the U.S. Army's 2nd Brigade Support Battalion. Luce said he was with his truck when his unit was attacked.
She said his left ankle was shattered and six bones were broken in his left foot. He also suffered shrapnel wounds in both legs.
Luce said she and Daniel's wife, Megan, will be flown to Walter Reed to be with Tingle when he comes back to the United States.
"For the first 24 hours, we were in shock," she said. "But then we thought how much worse it could be. Once I see him and hold him, I will know he is OK."
Tingle already has received his Purple Heart. His mother was promised an e-mail picture of Tingle with the award that a Navy corpsman photographed at her son's hospital bed.
"I am very proud of him," she said. "He has a very good attitude. He just wants to go back."
Luce said she has received overwhelming support from her co-workers at Renown Medical Center's South Meadows site.
"They told me to just go when I get the chance, that they would bring meals down to the family and take care of my animals," she said.
These are the same colleagues who baked 50 pounds of cookies that Luce shipped to her son before Christmas along with cards, decorations and small gifts.
"I am really blessed," Luce said. "I told Daniel, 'You have angels protecting you.'
"I am so grateful he is alive. If he loses his foot, he loses it. If he doesn't, that's a bonus. I told him that I would take 95 percent of him."