Coventry veteran who survived bombing now advocates for other so - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Hometown Hero

Coventry veteran who survived bombing now advocates for other soldiers

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Coventry veteran Micah Welintukonis is this week's Hometown Hero. (WFSB) Coventry veteran Micah Welintukonis is this week's Hometown Hero. (WFSB)
COVENTRY, CT (WFSB) -

A hometown hero who survived a near death experience is continuing to fight for others.

In July 2012, Micah Welintukonis was fighting in Afghanistan when a suicide bomber's vest went off in a police compound just steps away from him.

"My wife was 5 months pregnant at the time when I got hit, so I was like...'wow, my kid's gonna grow up without a father'," said Welintukonis.

Amazingly, he survived.

When the Coventry resident returned from his tour, like many soldiers, he struggled to adjust to civilian life.

"I thought about suicide, but you know you can't...you can't stop any thought from entering your mind...you know it's what you do with that thought," said Welintukonis.

He's now retired from the Army but has found other ways to serve his country.

Channel 3 and Frontier have partnered to bring attention to this week's Hometown Hero.

Welintukonis spoke with Channel 3's Kim Lucey about his passion for supporting soldiers who share his same struggles.

Welintukonis runs the charity In the Line of Duty.

The organization advocates for the rights of injured veterans.

He also speaks at conferences for veterans rights in Washington D.C. and does 22 push-ups a day to raise awareness for veteran suicide.

As someone who has also struggled with suicidal thoughts, the issue is important to Welintukonis.

"Any other vet out there, if the thought goes through their mind they've got plenty of people they can turn to. Don't ever give up, don't ever quit," said Welintukonis.

In addition to his charity work, Welintukonis said he hopes to one day run for governor.

However, for now his focus is on his wife and two young children.

Eyewitness News also has a follow up on another Hometown Hero interviewed earlier this year.

When we last spoke with Plainville native and former marine Steven Lesage, he was preparing for a 2,200 hike through the Appalachian Trail.

He started his journey as part of "Carry the Fallen," an organization that raises awareness for veteran suicide.

His family reports Lesage has made great progress and is now in Pennsylvania.

To nominate someone to be an upcoming Hometown Hero, click here.

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