Reporting John Lauritsen
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Nearly a year after his final tour, a war veteran who lost his legs was welcomed back in Minnesota.
On Monday, it was “Kyle Malin” day in the city of Lakeville. Two days earlier, at the Lakeville VFW, Staff Sgt. Kyle Malin, 28, received a hero’s welcome home — greeted by friends and the Patriot Guard.
“It’s great to be back home. Just getting to relax a little bit,” said Malin.
According to Malin, it’s hard for him and his wife, Alicia, to remember the last time relaxing was possible.
In 2002, Malin graduated from Farmington High School and went right into the army to fulfill a life-long dream.
While he was in the Army, Malin was promoted nearly every year. After three tours in Iraq, Malin wasn’t finished. Last July, he was just three weeks into a tour in Afghanistan when a single step changed his life.
Malin was squad leader when he stepped on a land mine.
“I was hearing ringing and I felt my body flipping and then I finally hit the ground. After that, I was just kind of on and off — lost consciousness. The next thing I know I was waking up at Walter Reed, next to my wife,” said Malin.
He has had more than 70 surgeries. His wife has been by his side for every single one.
“He’s a fantastic person. He’s an exceptional person, very strong. He is one of the strongest people I have ever known,” said Kyle’s wife, Alicia.
Malin raised the American flag before the Twins game against the Dodgers Monday night, and the home crowd let him know how they felt.
“It was an honor,” said Malin. “A really great honor. And it was fun.”
According to his dad, Jon, Malin will eventually be able to walk with prosthetic legs.
Malin and his wife have two boys and live in Texas.