Tara E. Moore
Army Pfc. Jonathan Chance Cleary, 20, was seriously injured on May 6 in Afghanistan when his Humvee rolled over an improvised explosive device (IED).
His stepmother, Denise Cleary, said that Cleary always wanted to go into the military.
Cleary, a 2010 East Wilkes High School graduate, went into the Army in February 2011 and is based out of Anchorage, Alaska. This was Cleary’s first tour in Afghanistan.
The Winston-Salem Journal reported that four soldiers were in Cleary’s vehicle when it was hit, and three were injured. The driver of the vehicle was killed.
Cleary’s stepmother, Denise Cleary, said he was most likely moving supplies in the Humvee when the explosion occurred.
Cleary suffers from two broken legs, two broken ankles, a broken cheek, five broken vertebrae, and significant head trauma.
Cleary was in a military hospital in Afghanistan until he was stable enough to be flown to Germany on Monday night. He is now at Walter Reed Army Medical Center near Washington, D.C. His father, Lynn Cleary, stepmother, Denise Cleary, and mother, April Cleary, are with him. Cleary also has a sister, Brittany, who is a senior at East Wilkes High School.
Stepmother Denise Cleary says that the main concern right now is the head trauma. Although Cleary is still on a ventilator, they take it off from time to time, and he is able to breathe on his own some. Yesterday morning the family saw a positive sign – Cleary was able to give a “thumbs up” – slowly but surely – when a neurosurgeon asked him to during an evaluation.
When the family first received the news of the incident, Denise Cleary said that “at first we were scared, and devastated all at the same time, because we were stuck here in another country.”
Now, however, Denise Cleary said the family was encouraged because Cleary opened his eyes a couple of times, if only for a second.
Cleary’s sister, Brittany, plays on the East Wilkes softball team. The team donned camouflage jerseys with “Chance” on the back in honor of Chance Cleary last Friday. East Wilkes defeated West Montgomery High School 2-1.
According to WGHP MyFox8, donations or cards can be sent to: Chance Cleary Family P.O. Box 1334 Wilkesboro, N.C. 28697.