MILITARY MATTERS: Wounded hero Lander Chappel

LANETT, AL (WTVM) - It's not every day that a former player has his high school jersey retired, but that's what happened last week in Lanett, AL.

Former linebacker Lander Chappel is a 2009 graduate of Lanett High School.  He's also a wounded warrior.  This past June while on patrol in Afghanistan, Private First Class Chappell (pronounced like the comic Dave Chappelle) stepped on an IED. It cost him his right leg, and badly damaged the left one.

He's been undergoing therapy at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, but says it's good to be back in Chambers County.

"Being home, it means a lot" said Chappell. "It's been nine months since I've been home. I've been in a hospital environment for the last four months.  It feels great to be around my family and friends."

Chappell's wife Shaquania was included in the ceremony too, which is no surprise. She has taken this journey with him, offering support and encouragement along the way.

"She helps me out a lot to keep pushing, keep believing that everything happens for a reason" said Chappell. "Just keeps pushing for what I want, and I still can get it."

Speaking of which, what does he want?  What does life hold for him after the Army?

Chappell said "I think it's probably going to be coaching and teaching, because I just like to let kids know you can do anything. Just put your mind to it and go with it."

And what would be his pep talk to players should he become a coach?

"Go 110% all the time, because you never know when you'll get the chance or the opportunity to do it again."

Spoken like a true warrior.

Copyright 2012 WTVM. All rights reserved.