Local Hero Returns Home

By: Jim Freeman
By: Jim Freeman

White Pine, Jefferson County (WVLT) - Last year an East Tennessee marine lost both his legs to a roadside bomb attack in Iraq.

Corporal Bradley Walker came home to white pine this morning a hero's welcome.

Jim freeman was there and asked the corporal if this should be a story of tears or cheers. His reply, a little of both.

A roadside bomb attack in Iraq took his legs.

Tuesday's roadside event in his hometown stole his heart.

"Oh, it's grand. It's great! Oh, it really is."

"I think it's great! I think more communities ought to do this and a lot of them are," says Jimmy Hammond, a Korean War Veteran.

Just about everyone in town showed up, even Brad's third grade teacher.

"I always knew there was something special about him and he has definitely proven that to us," says Kay Wice, Walker's third grade teacher.

His former school bus driver was behind the wheel of the red, white and blue charge.

"It's a Dollar Store hat. And then this is a birthday present and then the flag. And it just keeps-uh-falling and it's got plastic bags up in it," chuckles Hohey "Hoagy Snodgrass, Brad's former bus driver.

"We just want to show our support and that he's been in our hearts all this time. And that we're glad that he's coming home alive," says Cindy Wright, event organizer.

Alive he is. Scuffed up, too, from a bicycle wreck.

"As you can see. I kindly fell on my face on that 42 stitches and had to have some stitches in my chin and my right shoulder," says Walker.

As Brad's face heals, he's still getting adjusted to those new legs.

"OK. Don't show too much now. You'll get all these women excited," someone yells out from the crowd.

"Uh well, I'm kinda used to 'em by now," Brad says.

And it may take even longer to get used to being called White Pine's hometown hero.

"Adapt and overcome, that's what Marines do," Brad says.

Corporal Walker is a part of the Fourth Combat Engineering Battalion based out of Knoxville.

Brad plans to return to college probably sometime next year.


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  • by dustin cates Location: knoxville tn on May 2, 2007 at 08:19 AM
    brad is very pure at heart. one of the best individuals i have ever met and been able to bond with overseas in 2005. aside form his "ooh-rah" attitude at times, he is very much down to earth and just fun to be around. well, there's a few of us waiting to catch up with him, so we will wait until the calm after all this homecoming craziness.
  • by Myra Samples Location: White Pine on May 2, 2007 at 06:32 AM
    Thank you so much for covering this great event for CPL Bradley Walker. He certainly is our hometown hero. This was his cecond enlistment. He wanted to go back in hopes that our little ones might not have to. Now this is a hometown HERO.

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