Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
Ed Yeates ReportingAn American soldier seriously burned from a bomb explosion in Iraq had a special day thanks to the kids at an Orem elementary school.
As a military policeman, Sgt. Joey Fowler was seriously injured by a roadside bomb. Among the injuries are burns over 54 percent of his body. But it could have been worse. His own German Shepherd, with him all the time, died in the explosion. The dog saved Joey's life.
Sgt. Joe Fowler, U.S. Army: "He actually took all the shrapnel out of the truck from actually entering me. Basically, that's the way he saved my life, because I received no shrapnel whatsoever in my body. He took it all."
It's a long way from the hospital in San Antonio, Texas, to Foothill Elementary in Orem, Utah. But Sgt. Fowler wanted to come here personally to thank these kids.
Because his mother works in the school's cafeteria, the kids raised $900 for Joey, his wife and kids. When they told his mother what they were doing..
Kenen Brooks, Foothill Elementary: "She was flabbergasted. She was totally in shock that we were doing something so nice."
Ali Hansen, Foothill Elementary: "It's really cool to do a fundraiser for something that seems like it really matters, that it made a difference."
Though Joey was hospitalized for 15 months and will spend another year in San Antonio going through therapy, he wanted to say something special to these kids face-to-face.
Sgt. Fowler: "I have to. They just have such big hearts. For them to raise money that's supposed to go to other things. To think about me and my family at the time. It's the least thing I could do to come back and just say thanks."
Mikayla Kirkby, Foothill Elementary: "It's exciting to know he's the guy that I helped."
Chris Brousseau, Foothill Elementary: "The fact that he would spend time to come and thank us, that really makes me feel nice and important."
For Sgt. Joey Fowler and the kids at Foothill Elementary, this was a special day!
In addition to burns, Sgt. Fowler has injuries to an elbow, wrist and ankle. Following another year in rehab, he'll need more surgeries to repair the damage.