Wounded in Afghanistan, dad to get special visit

Six-year-old Brie Goudie already has the perfect present planned for her Daddy on Father's Day.

"I am going to give my Daddy a big hug and a big kiss," she said.

Brie traveled Friday monrning with her mother and grandmother from her home in Villa Grove to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., to deliver her special present.

Sgt. John Goudie has been in the military hospital since April, when he was wounded during his first tour in Afghanistan. Goudie, a member of the Green Beret 7th Battalion, was shot three times and grazed by a fourth bullet during an attack on his unit.

This will be the second time Brie and her mom Lisa Goudie will visit Brie's dad thanks the Fisher House Foundation. According to their website, it is a unique private-public partnership that supports America's military families in their time of need. The organization paid for Goudie's daughter and ex-wife to come visit him soon after he was injured, but Brie's mom felt like it was time for another visit and Father's Day was perfect timing.

"I think this is going to help them both heal a little bit," Lisa said. "Brie's been through a lot for a 6-year-old."

Goudie, 36, has had multiple surgeries and recently lost a foot as a result of his injuries. "He's handling it pretty well and determined to get back out there," his ex-wife said. "He's extremely strong." Goudie has been awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his service.

Goudie's family is grateful for the help provided by the Fisher House Foundation, which will pay for the family's flights, hotel and food during their visit. "It's unbelievable how much help you get while you're there," Lisa said. She was worried about not receiving benefits because she is divorced from Goudie, but says the organization treats her as any family member. "It's nothing you ever want to go through, but it's something you'll never forget once you do," she said.

The Soldier Family Assistance Center at Walter Reed briefs the family on what to expect at the hospital and what to expect when they see their wounded soldier. The center also provides families with child care, counseling and other needs.

Brie, her mom and grandma, Jennie Rodgers, will stay through Monday, but have created a get-well video of friends and family, plus a video collection of Brie, to leave with Goudie to lift his spirits when they're gone.

Lisa said Goudie is determined to return to duty as soon as possible. He may even be the first soldier to resume active duty with a prosthetic foot. "He is one that works to get to the top. There is no limitations to what John can do," she said.

As for Brie, she simply says, "I am proud of my Daddy."

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mwillis71 wrote on June 16, 2012 at 11:06 am

God bless you Sgt! You are a true American hero and I'm sure your beautiful family will make you feel as such on your fathers day. Thank you for all that you do.

Wingman wrote on June 16, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Thank you for your service John.  You are a hero to more people than you can imagine.  Brie is a lucky girl to have you as a father.  Champaign is proud to have you as a son.