Wounded Veteran of Afghanistan returning to parade, renovated home

ASHLAND, OH (WOIO) - Ashland native Corporal Josh Sommers will be returning home on Friday, July 1st, after rehabilitation from injuries sustained while serving in Afghanistan.

Sommers will be released from Louis Stokes Veterans Administration Hospital in Cleveland, where he will be escorted by a parade of motorcycles south to Ashland.

In Ashland, Sommers will be greeted by Mayor Glen Stewart, and then a parade will be held as Sommers returns to his home. At his residence, he will be greeted by volunteers with Operation Open Doors, a charitable organization which has renovated his home to account for injuries he has sustained. Sommers is paralyzed on his left side, is blind and has roughly 40% hearing.

Sommers is the first recipient of an Operation Open Doors renovation. The effort included modifying the new home to enable it to accommodate Josh, installing ramps, rails, widening doorways and remodeling bathrooms. The Akron-based charity is supported by the Association of General Contractors, Akron and its members. The process began in May, and the entire renovation will be completed between June 16th and July 1st.

Lisa Sommers, Josh's mother, expressed her appreciation for the outpouring of support from the community.

"Having Josh home means the world to our family, and the fact that he'll have a new home equipped to handle his needs is amazing." Sommers said. "Operation Open Doors has truly touched our lives."

James Fenske, President of Operation Open Doors, said that the organization was honored to be able to assist Sommers.

"We are proud and excited about being able to help Josh with our first project. The opportunity to touch this young man's life was one we couldn't let pass by," Fenske stated.

Sommers was a member of the 101st Airborne Division, also known as the Screaming Eagles.