Update: East Tennessee Soldier Wounded in Afghanistan

Claiborne County (WVLT) - A soldier's family here in East Tennessee is anxiously waiting for news about her.

27-year-old Private First Class Sue Downes of Tazewell was injured while on patrol in Afghanistan.

An improvised explosive device blew up near her.

Downes' family tells us she is in Germany getting treatment after losing both legs and a kidney.

Some good news, her family says she is not on life support.

"I know you hear it every time something happens that you don't think it's gonna happen to you or your family, but it happened to us," Devoted husband and father, Gabriel Downes says hearing the news that something had happened to his wife was the phone call he has worst feared.

"I was laying in bed and she usually calls around the time I got the phone call, she, I just looked at the phone, thinking it was her, when I picked it up, it wasn't, and I knew something happened."
Private First Class Sue Downes was on her second surveillance mission in three days in Afghanistan.

An explosion injured the 1998 Powell Valley High School Graduate's abdomen and forced the removal of a kidney and the amputation of both of her legs.

Gabriel, who was medically discharged from the military in 2004 because of a back injury, says he wishes things could have been different.

"I should have been there, not her."
And telling the children what happened hasn't been easy.

"My kids, they know that she's injured, but they don't know how bad."

"What do you say, you know? It's gonna be hard when they see her, but she's alive, so you know we're thankful for that."

Gabriel says now, his family is just looking toward the future, thankful the situation wasn't worse than it could have been.

"Next step is just her going through the rehabilitation, either in Germany or Walter Reed."

"Her career is probably over, I'm not sure."

Gabriel says he and the rest of Downes' family are waiting to find out when sue will return to the US to begin rehabilitation.


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