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Local Marine Ready For Challenge After Therapy

6:18 PM, May 25, 2011   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- You drop a quarter on the floor and what do you do? 

It's not big deal for most of us to pick up a coin off a table or any flat surface.

It's more challenging, though, for local marine Tyler Southern. 

Last May, he was with his team behind a building in Afghanistan. While sometimes he could see when IEDs weren't buried thoroughly under the dirt, this time he couldn't.

He stepped on a pressure plate and the explosion nearly killed him. In fact, he flatlined twice, he said, once in Afghanistan and once in Germany.

Now he's adjusting to a new way to function as a triple amputee. The quarter is not so easy to pick up when you're working with a new prosthetic hand.

"Let's give it a whirl," said Southern. He slowly hovers over the quarter, opens the hooks on the prosthesis, and picks up the quarter.

He's already had 26 surgeries, the latest on his wrist area.  Doctors at Mayo Jacksonville were able to give him more range of motion.

His next surgeries will focus on his fingers. "They have to go in and re-break the fingers," Southern said. The goal is to do "tendon transplants" and make his fingers move and function better.

First Coast News is helping throw Tyler and fiancee, Ashley Statti, a wedding July 9.  If you'd like to help email Pat at

If you can help us build a home email Jennifer with the non-profit group,  Homes For Our Troops, at

The home will be designed for a wounded veteran and be built in St. Johns County this summer. Crews of skilled workers and crews of just good helpers are welcome. You can volunteer as an individual or a group. 

First Coast News

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