Families Find Comfort At Fisher House

Sandy Homuth and Lorena Moss are members of a growing club no one wants to join: the families of America's roughly 10,000 seriously wounded soldiers.

People like them are finding refuge at the Fisher House at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Fisher House was established by a private foundation so families can stay, free of charge, on the grounds of major military and Veterans Administration medical centers as their loved ones are being treated.

Moss' husband, Channing, nearly died in a grenade attack in Afghanistan last March.

"People just don't understand unless they're actually going through it — having your husband leave you in perfect condition and then come back not the same at all," Moss, 23, told CBS News Sunday Morning correspondent Susan Spencer. "Their life has changed forever."

Homuth's strapping 21-year-old son, Jeremiah, lost his right arm in combat, also in Afghanistan, just a month into his tour.

"I knew the risks, and it frightened me to think that my son would be in harm's way," said Homuth, 44. "I thought, 'He's either going to come home fine, or he's not going to come home.' I never in my mind thought about him coming home injured."

"All of a sudden, there was an explosion, and it was me," Jeremiah Homuth said. "I looked down and I saw my arm just — well, the funny thing was, I didn't see my arm. I was like, well, 'Let me go out kicking at least, 'cause I'm not going to bleed out in this hellhole of a country.'"

His mother said the entire family has changed forever because of what happened to Jeremiah.

"They told us that they actually want us here," she said. "They see that soldiers heal faster with family members present."

For the Mosses, Fisher House is literally home. Lorena has put everything in storage and they have lived in Room 27 for seven months with their daughters, 2-year-old Juliana and 4-month-old Ariana, who was born at Walter Reed. But given what they've been through since that rocket propelled grenade slammed into Channing Moss' tank, it's nothing.

The grenade launcher hit him in the abdomen — and stuck there. It was essentially a bomb that could go off at any second.

"I looked down and I smelled something smoking, and it was me," he said. "The detonator and the gas tub and the tailfins were still in. I got tailfins stickin' out of my left side."

He's seen the tape of his surgery a thousand times, but can't believe the scene of bomb experts joining doctors in the operating room, slowly removing the grenade.

Channing still has to endure six more months of surgeries.

"Some days are better than others," Lorena Moss said. "Some days, I just can't handle it. I'm like, 'I can't do this.' But then I look at my husband, and I'm like, 'Wow, everything he's had to undergo.' If he can do it, I can do it. We can do it together."

"If you're by yourself, I feel like you don't have nobody to encourage you to pick up your spirit," Channing Moss said. "And once I saw my wife's eyes, I wanted to jump straight up out of bed."

  • Caitlin Johnson

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