Posted: Sep 12, 2011 6:27 AM by Tara Oster (KPAX Missoula)
Updated: Sep 12, 2011 6:42 AM
MISSOULA- Thousands of Montana Grizzly fans gave injured Ronan Marine Tomy Parker a standing ovation at the game, for his service during this weekend's home opener.
Parker has been doing physical therapy in California and learning how to walk on robotic limbs and has made major progress since he was injured in December and he's one of just of four people in the world to work with new technology.
Parker lost both of his legs and much of his left hand in Afghanistan and while he told us that his robotic limbs aren't yet reliable for him to use all the time, it's a step in the right direction.
"It's hard to tell what they're gonna do, They kinda have a mind of their own. Sometimes they'll give out, sometimes they don't want to work, so [we're] still working bugs out, but I still walk on them every day for a little while."
Parker added that he doesn't know how long his recovery will take, but he's not going to quit until it's perfect. And the next step is getting a prosthetic for his left hand.
"I gotta talk to the plastic surgeons when I get back in October and then we're hoping to get a surgery to make it smaller and then get a prosthetic."
Even while Parker has been busy with his own recovery, he also recently attended a Wounded Warrior Fundraiser for other wounded Marines of his unit, called Battle of the Capital.
"It was a bunch of high school teams from around the area that came in to play football and then they charged admission and all the proceeds through admission or food sales or any T-shirts...of anything they sold are going to wounded Marines of (Unit) 35."
But at Saturday's Griz football game, the focus shifted from fund raising to honoring Parker.
"It's pretty cool that the Grizzlies invited me here in remembrance of 9/11 and everything. It's an honor to be down here on the field," Parker commented.
Now he's home Parker is getting to move into his new house, complete with a man cave.
"Every guy wants to have that special part of their house where testosterone and manly stuff lives."
His house is attached to his parents' home and Parker says it's almost finished. The only thing left is the electrical. He added it came together quickly with lots of help from the community.
"Thank you to everybody that helped. There's so many people that helped, I don't even know who all helped!"
The standing ovation Parker received meant a lot to him. He told us the last time he was in Washington-Grizzly Stadium was in high school when he played football.