LIVERMORE FALLS – When injured U.S. Army Sgt. Helaina Lake told her father she loved him by phone Wednesday night, it was all he needed to brighten his day.
“She just kept telling me she loved me,” Bernal Lake of Livermore Falls said. “It was awesome. It was just awesome.”
Helaina, 23, formerly of Livermore Falls and a Livermore Falls High School graduate, was seriously injured June 21 in a suicide-bombing in Afghanistan.
The policewoman had been stationed at Camp Salerno, a forward operating base in eastern Afghanistan, when the attack by Taliban insurgents occurred, according to news reports.
Helaina was moved from a hospital in Germany to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland earlier this week.
Her mother, Jeannine Lake, traveled there Wednesday and arrived early evening, Bernal Lake said. He got to speak to his daughter by phone. She is out of the medically induced coma.
“She seems to be doing really good,” Lake said. “Her pain levels are down and that's good. It makes it easier to heal.”
Helaina has undergone several surgeries and is being treated for burns and other injuries she sustained in the attack.
Lake said he and his wife were extremely impressed with how much change there has been in their daughter's condition. She still has a long road ahead to recover but she is alive, he said.
Helaina kept telling her parents, while she was stationed in Afghanistan, that she would make it home.
“She almost didn't, Lake said.
He is taking care of Helaina's son and his grandson, Aden, 2, with the help of relatives.
Many people have stepped in to help the family any way they can, including monetary donations to help the family with travel and expenses to be able to see their daughter.
“I don't know how I am going to be able to say thank you to all these people,” Lake said.