Cannon County soldier wounded in Afghanistan is recovering - WSMV News 4

Cannon County soldier wounded in Afghanistan is recovering

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Franz Walkup Franz Walkup

A Cannon County soldier wounded in Afghanistan over the weekend is getting better by the day. He opened his eyes, and now family and friends are asking for your prayers that he gets better soon.

In downtown Woodbury today folks gathered for the Cannon County High School homecoming parade. At the same time, the community came together to rally behind Franz Walkup, an Army fire support specialist.

"It's overwhelming the amount of prayers that have been given to him," his sister Emily Agee said. "It's amazing how a community can care about a life."

Walkup was injured during a gun battle in Afghanistan this past weekend. Army officials said the American soldiers thought they were under attack by insurgents when a mortar round struck a checkpoint set up by U.S. forces. The soldiers fired upon Afghan allies who returned fire. Walkup was shot five times.

He's from a family of nine; one of his sisters, and twin brothers were at the parade today trying to take their minds off this tragedy. They spoke with their brother via Skype last night.

"It was kind of (re)assuring telling us he's still there, and still fighting; we're proud he's going to make it," his brother Joshua Walkup said.

Franz Walkup's wife Shannon got word that her husband had been wounded not too long after it happened. Friends said she knows it could have been much worse.

"Shannon told me that, ‘at least it was a phone call and not a knock on the door,'" said Korie Aycock, a family friend.

Franz Walkup's wife, parents and a brother are by his bedside at a hospital in Germany.

Woodbury Grammar School teacher Shannon Streett is best friends with his parents.

"It was devastating news, it was shocking news," Streett said. "No one ever wants to get the call or a message that a soldier has been wounded, but the family rallied together."

Franz Walkup is from a military family, which has already been through a lot. In 2007 his older brother Frank Walkup IV was killed by an explosion in Iraq; folks lined the streets for miles for his funeral processional.

"We're gone through something like this before, and I can't image losing another brother," his brother Jake Walkup said.

"It's been extremely difficult since we've already lost a brother in this war, and you know we were really scared at one point, but now that we know he's going to make it, it's been easier," Agee said.

A war memorial at the Cannon County Courthouse already bears the name of one Walkup, family and friends are thankful they're not adding another one.

Franz Walkup's family said he's expected to be transferred to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington on Sunday.

Friends have started a Facebook page, ‘Staying Strong for Franz,' for folks to get updates on his condition. 

An account has been set up to help the family with expenses. You can donate to Team Franz at First National Bank branches in Woodbury, Murfreesboro and Manchester.

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