Presidential visit with Kent, family ‘a big honor’
Pfc. Corey Kent, recovering from injuries at Walter Reed Hospital in Maryland, met President Barack Obama this week when he was awarded the Purple Heart by the president.
“It was surreal,” said Dan Ashby, Kent’s stepfather. “It was a big honor for Corey to have the president give him his Purple Heart.”
While the visit was formal at first, Ashby said it quickly became informal when talk turned to the NFL.
“Corey is a Packers fan, and, of course, the President is a Bears fan,” Ashby said. “I’m a Bears fan, too. We were giving him some flack about the Packers.”
Recovery for Kent has been slow, but steady, Ashby said.
He received his first skin graph and has another scheduled this week. The skin graph procedures are crucial, Ashby said, because Kent’s body has to accept the graph.
Both Ashby and Kent’s mother left their jobs to be with Corey at Walter Reed.
He said they are splitting 12-hour shifts at Corey’s bedside.
“We can always be here if he needs something,” Ashby said.
Cape city employees recently raised $3,200 to help with Kent’s finances, and Councilmember Bill Deile plans on visiting the Cape Coral native soon.
Right now, Ashby said the focus is almost entirely on the skin graphs. Without those procedures being a success, he won’t be able to progress to the next phase of his recovery.
“Once that’s done, they can really start doing the rehab,” Ashby said.
Ashby added that Corey is surrounded by people who are going through the same things, and are able to provide a network of support.
Corey continues to be strong, but Ashby said he doesn’t pretend to know what his stepson is going through.
“It’s not easy for any of us to know what he’s feeling. I can be there for him and motivate him and help as much as I can, but I’m not going to belittle him by telling him I know what he’s going through,” Ashby said.
A fund for Kent has been set up through Bank of America for those who wish to make donations to his recovery efforts.
Donations to the “Pfc. Corey A. Kent Family Assistance Fund” can be made at any local Bank of America branch.