Wounded warrior welcomed

LIHUE — A group of dignitaries and representatives of the Kauai Veterans Council waited anxiously outside the baggage claim area for the arrival of a special visitor to Kauai on Tuesday.

Vacations for Warriors, a Colorado nonprofit, arranged to have Sgt. Rob Easley and his wife Megan visit Kauai as part of their Hawaii trip, said Lynn Aylward-Bingman, chair to the Veterans Advisory Council to the VA Pacific Island Healthcare, who coordinated the Easleys’ trip with Vacations for Warriors.

Arriving for the final leg of their Hawaii trip, which included stays on Oahu and Maui before Kauai, the Easleys were greeted by a host of other government officials, including Kaulana Finn, representing Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, and chair of the Hawaii Senate’s Ways and Means Committee Jill Tokuda, who was en route to a transportation meeting along with Rep. James Tokioka and Senate president Ron Kouchi.

They were joined by representatives of the various military agencies and groups, including Ed Kawamura, commandant of the Kauai Veterans Council, and retired general Mary Kay Hertog and other supporters of veterans in the armed forces.

Easley is from Pennsylvania and was wounded in Afghanistan in October, 2012 when he stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device.

“He lost both legs above the knee and several fingers from his right hand as a result of the IED,” Aylward-Bingman said. “His left leg amputation was so high he has undergone a number of surgeries to lengthn his femur to enable him to wear a prosthesis on that limb. Fortunately, the surgeries have been successful and he is now using two new prosthetic legs.”

Garbed in red-white-and-blue shoes, Rob and Easley were escorted through the gates while their luggage, also in the patriotic red-white-and-blue theme, was wheeled to the waiting para transit Kauai Bus.

During their stay here, Chip Bahouth, the general manager of the Sheraton Kauai Resort, has given them a room on the island, Alyward-Bingman said.

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