KEMP (CBSDFW.COM) – Hundreds of community members lined downtown Kemp Saturday morning during a patriotic homecoming for a wounded hometown Marine.
“It’s our small way of saying thank you. My husband is a veteran, my father is a veteran – so we can come out and support them and say thank you,” resident Sara Gene Cool said.
They came to thank and honor Jeffrey Knight, 23, who residents described as more than a Marine – to them, he’s a community hero.
“He always grew up wanting to be a Marine. He always wanted to fight for his country,” Knight’s aunt Gina Ferguson said.
Lance Corporal Knight was wounded in June. Knight lost both his legs and his hand when he stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device.
“I was a combat engineer,” Knight said. ”My job was to look for IEDs and dispose of them, if need be, and make sure all the guys behind me made it home to see their families. Every single person made it home – so I did my job.”
Knight is a humble hero whose service and bravery was saluted in the special parade and outpouring of community support. He rode in the back of a Jeep, waving to onlookers and shaking hands with a wide smile planted on his face.
“I guess I don’t consider myself a hero in any aspects,” Knight said. ”Having my boys and having all this is spectacular. Words can’t describe it.”
On Veterans Day weekend, residents of Kemp and surrounding communities were mindful of the sacrifices and dedication made by Marines like Jeffrey and other veterans.
“You can tell I’m emotional and that’s what we all need to remember,” Cool said. “They’re doing this for us so we can be out here to say thank you.”
Knight continues his recovery at Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio. He credits his family for his positive attitude and his ability to walk just a month and a half after his injury.
Knight was also awarded the key to the city of Kemp.