LORAIN — Family and friends of U.S. Army Pvt. 1st Class Heath Kirk of Lorain, injured in Afghanistan, have organized a public welcome home party and motorcade for Saturday evening.
Kirk, 21, was severely wounded in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in September 2009, where he lost a leg. After two months of surgeries and recuperation, Kirk has been newly fitted with a prosthetic leg and is returning home.
The American Legion Post 397 in Vermilion on state Route 60 has donated space for 500 to enjoy a complimentary spaghetti dinner, pop and entertainment for the whole family from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. A cash bar will also be available.
There is no cost to attend. The family is asking residents to line the motorcade where Kirk, escorted in a limousine, will drive through the Lorain neighborhood where he lived, pass Southview High School from where Kirk graduated and finally drop Kirk off at the American Legion in Vermilion at 6:30 p.m.
The motorcade route is still being worked out. Check back at Chroniclet.com for more details as they become available.
Family friend, Laura Hall, sister to Lance Cpl. David R. Hall of Lorain, who died Aug. 31 in Afghanistan, is helping to organize the event.
Kirk will talk attendees from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. about how he was injured and what happened Sept. 21 when he was injured.
“It’s unbelievable to hear his story,” Hall said. “It will change people. He’s an incredible young man and his story is overwhelming. It will build a lot of awareness and appreciation of the work that they do.”
Businesses including Giant Eagle and Bullfrog Sports Café have donated food, pop and paper products for the event. A DJ has donated his time and family-centered activities like face-painting will be available for children.
Hall said the welcome home party is the least Kirk’s friends and family could do.
“We have an obligation to stand up and say thank you to our soldiers,” she said. “He stood for all of us. We ask that everybody come out and listen to his story.”