Liz Edinger will never forget that telephone call, the one dreaded by any worried parent of a uniformed son or daughter in harm's way in Afghanistan or Iraq.
"Nick called and asked if I was sitting down," she said. "I sat down, and he said, 'Mom, my left foot is missing.' "
"This is six hours after it happened," added Scott Edinger, her husband and Nick's father. "He said, 'I stepped on a land mine but don't worry, I'm going to be fine.' "
Army Cpl. Nick Edinger, 22, lost his left foot to an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan on March 30.
Within eight hours after receiving the call, Liz, a staff nurse in the emergency room at Rogue Valley Medical Center, was at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center near the Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
"It really opened up my eyes — seeing all the wounded," said Scott, a building contractor who visited their son at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where he now is recovering.
"Nick is so lucky that is all he lost," he added. "There are so many wounded there."
While in Germany, Liz observed that the plane taking their son to Walter Reed had four buses backed up to it filled with wounded. Three such flights leave each week, she said.
They observed the Army is taking good care of the wounded.
"But people need to know how bad those guys are getting hurt over there," Scott said, adding, "We don't profess to know what the answer is."
"I was on pins and needles all the time he was over there," Liz said. "The Arghandab Valley is an ugly area (for Taliban activity), and it's going to get uglier."
The reason, she said, is that the extremely remote area is near the porous border with Pakistan.
Nick's paternal grandfather, Wilson Edinger of Medford, is a veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division. He received a Purple Heart after being wounded in World War II.
His maternal grandfather, Jerry Pringle, also of Medford, is a Navy veteran.
"We are pretty darn proud of him," Jerry Pringle said. "He did what his country asked of him. But he is paying the price now.
"I'm starting to think we shouldn't be there," he added.
"He was extremely fortunate," said Harriet Pringle, his maternal grandmother who recently visited him at Walter Reed.
Scott and Liz Edinger, whose oldest son, Matt, 25, is expected to begin graduate school this fall, describe their youngest son as headstrong, a trait they say helped him survive the ordeal.
In his younger years, he began working out with weights to overcome attention deficit disorder, his parents said.
"He found that when he did physical exertion, it calmed him down enough to pay attention," his mother said. "He started going to the gym to work out. That has helped him be very focused, something that has stuck with him through his life."
The military further helped him focus on what he wants to do with his future, she said.
"One thing the military did do was give him direction," she said. "He will go to school and become a nurse or a nurse practitioner. He has always wanted to work with people, to be a person in service to help others."
Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 541-776-4496 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.