Injured Soldier Heading Home

January 12, 2012 Updated Jan 12, 2012 at 11:49 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Army Specialist Rex Tharp lost a leg and suffered other injuries after a bomb exploded near him while he was on patrol in Afghanistan. He is now on his way back to the U.S. and he is being honored with a Purple Heart.

"I just kind of went down. It wasn't a phone call I expected". Geegee Tharp got the call no military parent wants to get. Her son received several injuries while on patrol in Afghanistan.

"His team leader heard the bomb go off, ran to him and he was also succumb to a bomb," Geegee said.

The injuries came just a short time before Rex was expected to come home and a short time after he was promoted to specialist.

"I talked to him the night before. His spirits were good. He was excited about coming home. He was proud that he got his advancement...and then boom."

Now, after fighting for survival, Rex is a Purple Heart Honoree. "they actually performed the ceremony with Rex with us on the phone and he received his Purple Heart."

Geegee knows she has to be strong for her son. "I have to follow in his footsteps and be strong for him, that's what he wants, and ironically, the first thing that comes out of this kid's mouth is: how are you doing? How are my friends doing? Tell them I 'm okay."

Rex is heading from Afghanistan to Germany and will be back on US soil this weekend. "he said: when I get back, I'm taking my friends to Ihop. That's the typical Rex. He loves life."

Geegee will be reunited with Rex as soon as he arrives at Walter Reed Medical Center.

She made it very clear that the Army has been a great help in keeping her in contact with her son and taking care of any traveling expenses that get her to Washington.

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