It was only a little over two years ago that fresh out of high school, Sean Pesce started Army basic training .
Since then, Pesce, now a Private First Class, has seen combat, was seriously injured during an attack on his unit and was awarded a Purple Heart.
Now the community is rallying around the West Haven native to make sure when he's ready, he can come home.
On Oct. 12, 2012, his unit, the 2-75 Ranger Regiment from Fort Lewis, Wash., was stationed in Afghanistan when it was hit by enemy fire. Four bullets hit his stomach, back, leg and arm. He's paralyzed from the waist down, has been hospitalized since the incident and has undergone multiple surgeries.
But late last month he finally left the hospital, according to his mother Gail, who maintains the Facebook page Prayers for PFC Sean Pease. And now his parents want to make sure he's able to return to his West Haven home.
"Our brave hero sustained four gunshot wounds. He had to have his spleen and right kidney removed.," his mother writes on the Facebook page. "His left kidney was also damaged but they were able to repair it. He has a severe spinal cord injury with no feeling from the waist down. Only time will tell if he will regain feeling. I know he will work hard to overcome any obstacle in his way."
On Aug. 30, Pesce was discharged from a Massachusetts hospital and moved into an apartment. His parents want him to come home to West Haven, but need to renovate the house so he's able to function properly.
As a disabled veteran, he is eligible for a military housing grant, according to his mother. But they don't want to use that money, instead saving it for him to use in the future.
"My husband and I will not touch his grant money as he will need it when he gets his own house," she said. So instead she started a fundraising campaign to raise the money for the renovations.
"It is very hard for us to ask for help, but we will do anything for our children," she said.