Marine critically injured in Afghanistan gets holiday surprise

SEA-TAC AIRPORT, Wash. -- A local marine critically injured in Afghanistan got an unexpected holiday surprise. Doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center allowed Lance Corporal Evin Bodle to temporarily return home for the first time since his massive injury.

Bodle, a Marine, assigned to the 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C. was injured in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Aug. 6, 2012 while conducting combat operations. The 27-year-old has been under constant medical care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. since.

A group of friends and family including Bodle's wife and two small children met the recovering Marine at Sea-Tac Airport Saturday with a hero's welcome.

"To see him out of the hospital is big for them," said Meara Sollman Bodle as her two children Peyton, 2 years-old; and Quinn, 5 years-old welcomed their Daddy home for the first time since he was critically injured.

His Mom, Cindy Shute-Bodle, said just to see her son walk off the plane to be with his family and children was amazing and a true miracle.

The Bodle family knows the pain and sacrifice of war. It delivered a life sentence of injuries for the Marine from Lake Stevens. Bodle lost 20 percent of his brain tissue, causing a very serious traumatic brain injury.

"When you're missing part of your brain, there's no book about how we make this better or this is how we fix it," said Meara Sollman Bodle.

In addition, Bodle is also dealing with a hand and leg injury. And recently, his injuries have caused the loss his eyesight.

"It was months before we really had any idea of how this injury has changed him to the degree of what this means for our life and our family's life," said Meara Sollman Bodle. "I think we're still finding out 16 months later."

The father, who earned a Purple Heart from President Obama, became a Marine to serve his county and support his family.

"On good days I'm really proud and honored to be his sister," said Cailyn Bodle. "On his harder days, it definitely crushes me - knowing how much he sacrificed."

The journey ahead for the Marine is filled with uncertainty, but in the meantime the Bodle family will cherish the precious holiday moments they never imaged spending together in Washington.

"I see the light at the end of the tunnel," said Cindy Shute-Boldle. "So we're going to make it."

Lance Corporal Evin Bodle will return to Walter Reed Army Medical Center next week to continue his rehabilitation.