Community lines highway to welcome wounded warrior to Coeur d’Alene

Community members, first responders and business owners lined I-90 and Highway 95 to welcome a wounded warrior to Coeur d’Alene on Friday.

Army Sergeant 1st Class Brian Sharp and his fellow Green Berets were on a joint mission in Afghanistan earlier this year when they were ambushed by their own Afghan support team. Two soldiers, Sgt. 1st Class Will Lindsay and Specialist Joseph Collette were killed. Sharp was shot multiple times and almost died in the field.

Sharp’s pelvis was shattered, and he was also shot in the abdomen. After being stabilized, he returned to the United States and was in the hospital to celebrate his daughter’s first birthday. Since then, he has been through hours and hours of rehab. Most recently, Sharp regained his ability to walk, at the same time as his one-year-old daughter started to learn.

During his recovery, two of Sharp’s teammates, Master Sgt. Michael Riley and Sgt. James Johnson, were also killed in Afghanistan. During a more recent mission, Sgt. Major James “Ryan” Sartor, Sharp’s mentor, was killed in battle. Sartor saved Sharp’s life multiple times and was close with his wife Amy.

Sharp grew up in Montana, but his wife Amy was born and raised in Coeur d’Alene and also lived in Spokane. The couple married overseas, but held their wedding reception in Hayden and have close ties to the area. They are coming to town this weekend to visit family.

When he heard the request for an escort, Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger jumped at the opportunity.

The escort met Sharp and his wife as they traveled from I-90 to Highway 95, then southbound to Lancaster.

Tammi Kraak, her husband, and son were among the supporters.

“We heard that they were honoring and welcoming home a hero that served in combat and we just wanted to be able to show our appreciation,” Kraak said. “Never ever take for granted those that serve our country, those that put their lives on the line every day for our safety and freedom.”

Community lines highway to welcome wounded warrior to Coeur d’Alene