NC reservist survived Ft. Hood attack

Sgt Alonzo Lunsford survived the attack at Ft. Hood

May 13, 2010 2:20:02 AM PDT
The day last November when Major Nadal Hasan walking into the Soldier's Readiness Processing center at Fort Hood and opened fire - killing 13 and wounding more than 30 others - Sgt Alonzo Lunsford - an Army reservist from North Carolina - was working the front desk.

"We thought he was training because he's an officer and all of a sudden you started hearing pop pop pop. People ducked," Lunsford recalled.

One of Hasan's bullets hit Lunsford above his left eye - exiting his ear. An additional four shots would follow.

"I was hit four more times, but I didn't realize I was hit until the third day I was in the hospital. I didn't know about the other wounds," said Lunsford.

"Did you think you were going to die?" asked ABC11's Tisha Powell.

"I refused to die. That wasn't a thought. Positive thinking works wonders. First of all, I'm a dad, so what kind of example would I set for my son and my daughter if I let something like that defeat me?" he asked.

It's been a long, hard road to recovery for Lunsford who's now part of the Warrior Transition Battalion at Ft. Bragg. He goes to physical therapy three times a week and sees a psychiatrist for post traumatic stress disorder.

"How are you sleeping?" asked Powell.

"I don't. I don't," Lunsford responded.

He constantly relives that day in his mind: the gunfire, the horror, and Hasan.

"To me, a person who does stuff on the slick is a coward. If you really want to fight, meet me hand up," said Lunsford.

Lunsford now sees everyday as a gift - a second chance at life.

"I believe every person has a gift. How they choose to use that gift, that's on them. My gift is communicating - especially with young people. So my thing is I'm going to give back to the community and support the community and bring these kids together, so they can understand the importance of doing the right thing," said Lunsford.

On the day we interviewed him, Lunsford took that message to the halls of Richmond Senior High School in Rockingham - his alma mater. The man who now stands at 6'-9" tall says this is where he learned life lessons that kept him alive on November 5.

"This is where you learned to become a survivor?" Powell asked.

"Yep, right here on this basketball court," said Lunsford.

He now speaks to students about pride, intestinal fortitude, and giving back.

"The mark of a true champion is how hard you work when no one is watching," said Lunsford. "The ones that want to be hard and act like they're gangsters - bullets hurt!"

Lunsford says students don't have to join the service, but should find a way to serve their community.

"Not having is no excuse for not getting. We do what we have to do so we can do what we want to do," he said. "I am a guardian of freedom, the American way of life. I am an American soldier."

Sergeant Lunsford says he regrets not being able to stop the shooting, and he hopes this doesn't taint the public's perception of the military. He says as long as we're at war, he wants to be in the U.S. Army.

When he gets out, he wants to continue working with soldiers and children.

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