LEXINGTON, SC (WIS) - Operation Kyle started out as a congregation reaching out to one of its own deployed in Afghanistan. But in an instant, a grenade blast gave the project new meaning.
To most, the name Kyle Carpenter is an unfamiliar name with a familiar story. "His lifelong goal was to become a marine," said friend Scott Vaughan, who also happens to be a fellow member of Lexington Baptist Church. He's also followed the 21-year-old during his deployment in Afghanistan.
In October, the church's "V Class" started a project named Operation Kyle. It was a care package program that was originally just for him. "That sort of morphed into let's do a Christmas care package for all 48 members of his platoon," says Vaughan.
But before a box was packed, the church got the news. In late November, Carpenter took a direct blast from an insurgent's grenade. "He took shrapnel all over his body," says Vaughan.
Carpenter was rushed to Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland where he faces multiple surgeries and an unknown period of recovery. His parents are by his side while he is in intensive care.
Operation Kyle is now also a fundraising program for Carpenter's family. You may have never heard of "facing a crisis most will never have to endure." "When we hear about Afghanistan and marines, that's a word and we've heard it so many times," says Vaughan, "We're kind of anesthetized to it, and then all of a sudden someone you know, someone you love, someone you go to church with. All of a sudden, their world is rocked by what's going on over there. It really hits your life like a freight train."
The Operation Kyle Facebook group is picking up steam, and Lexington Baptist is overseeing the fundraising account in his name. You can learn more by clicking here.