Injured soldier off the ventilator; family honored


Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Peachtree Ridge honors injured soldier Justin Lansford's family, including his uncle Michael Basak, Kayla Basak, Courtney Caron, aunt Sylvia Basak and Amanda Basak with a prayer during a ceremony prior to the Brookwood at Peachtree Ridge girls soccer game on Wednesday.

The Lansford family was greeted with great news on Wednesday morning visiting Germany’s Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

Justin Lansford, the 22-year-old local soldier injured by a roadside bomb April 23 in Afghanistan, was off the ventilator that had helped him breathe since an attack with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. He talked constantly with his family and, though he’s still in a bit of a fog, he is aware of his injuries, including an amputated left leg.

“He is getting closer to the old Justin we all know,” his father Rick Lansford said. “He knew that he was close to death at the scene and remembered everything that happened up to the point of getting on the helicopter. He doesn’t remember anything after except he thinks the doctors were trying to kill him when they were trying to save him.”

The 2007 Brookwood grad is still healing from a number of injuries to his legs (he has two broken femurs), abdomen and chest, and doctors aren’t sure why his white blood count is extremely high and is rising despite broad-spectrum antibiotics. They are treating a non-systemic fungus at the amputation site, but they think fluid near his pancreas that they are draining today may be causing the issue.

“We are extremely happy to hear his voice and know he is aware and recognizes everyone and everything,” Rick Lansford said.

Lansford’s family is still hopeful of a Friday return to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

While Lansford and his immediate family were in Germany, his extended family was honored during a playoff soccer game Wednesday night at Peachtree Ridge High School. The Lions designated the matchup “Justin Lansford Night,” because they were playing Brookwood, the soldier’s alma mater.

Lansford’s family was recognized before the game and was awarded a plaque in his honor by Peachtree Ridge, which also donated the same plaque to Brookwood. Brookwood grad Jeff Morgan, a former Marine injured in 2006 in Iraq, assisted with the presentation.

The school also provided small American flags to fans in attendance.


teelee 2 years, 12 months ago

God's speed in your recovery! You are a true hero and Gwinnett County is so proud of you!Come home soon!


Sthrnldy 2 years, 12 months ago

Wonderful news that he is doing better and that his family is with him. Bless them with strength and courage during the healing and recovery. Thanks be to God!


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