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News - Afghanistan - 24 Aug 2010

News Item 20 of 28 

Afghanistan: 24 Aug 2010
Local Soldier returns to warm welcome

Cpl. Will Werth shares a laugh with fiancee Nicole Roberts outside Waterloo City Council chambers on Monday. Werth was recognized by city council after he was seriously injured by an improvised explosive device on July 1 in Afghanistan.
Credit: M Tait, KW RECORD



WATERLOO — The enemy struck just a few weeks after Cpl. Will Werth deployed to Afghanistan in May.

On July 1, a buried bomb exploded near him while he was on foot patrol, wounding him badly.

Today, Werth, 20, is recovering at home in Waterloo. Doctors expect he will never see again out of his damaged left eye.

Shrapnel is still popping out of his hand, legs and face. Plastic surgeons are working to limit the scarring. His dream to begin a career in policing appears to be over.

Still, Werth figures it could have been a lot worse, all things considered. “I would consider myself pretty lucky,” he said.

Monday, Waterloo council gave him a hero’s welcome, in an upbeat ceremony. “We could never be more proud,” Mayor Brenda Halloran said.

Werth was led into council chambers by a piper and an honour guard. The slender young soldier thanked the community for its support.

Werth serves with a combat engineering regiment. He was born and raised in Waterloo and graduated from Bluevale Collegiate.

It was always his dream to join the army. While still a teen, he trained with a reserve unit in Waterloo. He was later stationed in Petawawa, before deploying to the war overseas.

His proud parents, Liz and Tim Werth, joined him at council, along with fiancée Nicole Roberts, 21.

“It’s been up and down and all over. But it’s been OK,” Liz Werth said. “The support has been great. The army has been wonderful.”

Her son was quickly evacuated to a hospital in Germany. Following multiple operations there, he moved on to a hospital in Toronto.

“It was definitely hard at first,” fiancée Nicole Roberts said.

But things have progressed well and doctors are surprised by how fast he’s healing.

Now, she’s angling to get her fiancé more involved in planning their wedding next summer. “That seems more difficult than I thought it would be,” she said, laughing.

Werth’s job in the army was to patrol with the infantry, help with construction on the base at Kandahar, and find and uncover hidden bombs.

He’ll stay in the army until at least January. He figures he may later look for work related to policing. Or perhaps he’ll start his own business.

He’s among more than 500 Canadian soldiers wounded in action in Afghanistan since 2002. The war against the Taliban has killed 151 Canadian soldiers.

jouthit@therecord.com

KW RECORD/jm
 

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