On Saturday, Sgt. J.D. Williams from Harrison was severely injured by a land mine while on duty in Afghanistan.
On Tuesday, Williams, a 2006 graduate of Harrison High School, was in critical but stable condition in an Army hospital in Germany, said his father Jack Williams.
J.D. Williams was serving as a sniper with the 1-502nd Infantry Regiment out of Fort Benning, Ga. In the incident, Williams lost both legs just above the knees and his right arm from the elbow down. He also fractured his pelvic bone.
Now Williams’ family is raising money to help travel to be with him.
On Tuesday, Jack Williams was still awaiting word as to whether the surgeons in Germany were going to keep J.D. there or fly him to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. Where ever he’s sent, his family is going to be with him.
“We’ve been told that where ever he ends up, whether it’s in Germany or Walter Reed, we can expect to be there from three to five months, but it could be longer,” Jack Williams said. “We plan on staying there until we know he’s mentally and physically okay, however long it takes.”
Williams describes his son as a loyal friend and lover of the outdoors.
“He’s got the biggest heart in the world,” Jack said of his son. “If he’s a friend of yours, he’s a friend forever.”
J.D. was looking forward to break from combat, when the incident occurred.
“He was coming up on leave and was going back home to see his wife and daughter and then come back up to Montana and go hunting with me and his brother,” Jack said.
Once word got out around Harrison about what happened to J.D. the support started pouring in, he said.
“I would just like to thank everybody for their prayers and their support,” Jack said. “Everybody has been reaching out big time. I just really appreciate the support from everyone. Everybody here in Harrison – the phone calls, the food, the prayers – they’ve just been the best.”
Jack is also grateful for the men who were with his son when the land mine exploded.
“I would like to have a special thanks to a Capt. Jason McKay, he was with J.D. when it happened and he’s the one that got the medical attention to him,” he said.
Nicole Visser and Toni Kantorowicz are organizing the assistance to the Williams family in Harrison.
The community is really feeling for them and for J.D., Visser said.
“What they need, we’re willing to be there for them the best we can,” she said.
Right now travel expenses seem to be the biggest need, but once Jack leaves there may be other things to consider, Visser said.
Two funds have been set up to receive money to help Williams’ family. One is at the First Madison Valley Bank in Ennis. The other is called the National Guard Military Family Assistance Fund out of McAllister set up by Raul Luciani.
Donations to the National Guard Military Family Assistance Fund are tax deductable, Luciani said.
People writing checks should put J.D. Williams name in the memo line and all the money will go to his family, he said.
Money raised will help with travel expenses for Williams’ family as they go to see their loved one.
People looking to help in other ways can contact Visser at the Wheat and Thistle General Store in Harrison at 685-3418.
The address for First Madison Valley Bank is P.O. Box 307, Ennis 59729. The address for the National Guard Military Family Assistance Fund is P.O. Box 100, McAllister 59735.