Iraq veteran gets chance to bond with son thanks to church’s gift

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York County resident Ryan Walton went to Iraq in 2007. “The hottest day there was a hundred and twenty eight degrees” said Walton from his home in Felton. While there he saw combat and crushed his spine after stepping into a blast hole.

Since returning he’s been in and out of the hospital more than a hundred times, which isn’t just hard on him. “My son has seen so much. He’s seen his daddy go into operating rooms. He’s seen his daddy be pulled out by paramedics” said Walton.

It’s for that reason that he came to meet Doris Humphrey with the Paoli Presbyterian Church near Philadelphia. “We just wanted to do something with a wounded warrior” said Humphrey. She contacted PA Wounded Warriors Inc and they put her in touch with Ryan.

Ryan told her that all he wanted was to watch his son Aiden play in their backyard, so Humphrey got to work. She worked with other church volunteers to build a playground, which she delivered to the Walton home Friday morning around 9:30. Aiden’s parents said that he had a grin from ear to ear, which lasted throughout the day.

As for Ryan, the trauma of war is something he will never forget. “Ideally I would like my life back. I would like to be who I was before I went to Iraq, but I’m not going to ask for things I know I won’t get back” said Walton.