Just four years ago, Marco Solt was a defensive end at Cooper High School.
Shortly after graduation, he joined the Army.
He met his wife, Gina, while stationed in Germany. From there, he was sent off to Afghanistan, where he performed a dangerous, yet important, mission.
"We'd just drive down the road, look for IED's, get rid of them," Marco said.
Thursday morning, Marco returned home to Brooklyn Center.
"It's really nice to have him back here," said Dan Solt, his father.
"It feels really good to be back," Marco added.
That's especially true considering what Marco's been through.
"That's pretty much all that's worth showing," Marco said as he lifted up his jeans, exposing a prosthetic leg.
While on the lookout for IED's on May 1, a bomb exploded and sent the truck in which he was riding, toppling over.
"I undid my seat belt, I fell over and when I was propping myself up, that's when I realized that, 'oh well that probably ain't too good,' you know what I mean, my legs were gone," Marco explained.
He and the rest of his unit got out of the truck, and within an hour, he was at the hospital undergoing surgery.
"My initial reaction was, 'he lost them all the way up to his waist,'" recalled Dan about the phone call he received from Marco after the incident. "And at that point in time you don't know. You've got so many things going through your mind."
Marco lost his legs up to his knees, but while in the hospital at Bagram Air Force Base, he received a special visit from President Obama, who awarded him the Purple Heart.
"And he could've just easily [said], here's a Purple Heart, picture, see you later," Marco said. "But he sat down and talked to us, so that was pretty cool."
"Oh absolutely, I've got the pictures on my desk at work," Dan exclaimed.
Now, after spending several months recovering, Marco is fitted with prosthetic legs, and a positive outlook on life.
"For one, I don't want to let my buddies down in Afghanistan, cause they're still there," Marco said. "And I don't want to let any of my family down and make it seem like, oh poor me, I don't want that at all."
Sammy's Pizza in Brooklyn Park will host a 'welcome home' celebration for Marco on October 27. The Minnesota Patriot guard will start the event at 11 a.m., and a percentage of the day's sales will be donated to Marco to help with his recovery.
Oct. 19, 2012