LIVERMORE FALLS, Maine — U.S. Army military policewoman Sgt. Helaina Lake asked her platoon leader if she was going to die after she was severely injured in a suicide-bombing last Thursday in Afghanistan, her father was told.
The platoon leader told the 23-year-old Livermore Falls woman, “Not under my watch you’re not,” her father Bernal Lake said Monday.
Helaina Lake answered, “Good. I have a child to raise,” Bernal Lake said he was told. “She is focusing on her son. She is a very, very strong-willed woman. That is why she is in the army.”
She had wanted to be in the army since before she graduated from Livermore Falls High School, where she was a scholar athlete, he said.
Helaina Lake went to Afghanistan in September 2011. She has been stationed at Camp Salerno, her father said.
The camp, a forward operations base, in eastern Afghanistan was attacked by Taliban insurgents, according to national news reports. According to a report in the Air Force Times 14 militants were also killed in the attack.
Helaina Lake’s family and community members are rallying around the family to help with expenses.
Sgt. Lake, who is the daughter of Jeannine and Bernal Lake of Livermore Falls, has been in a medically-induced coma since the bombing. Some fellow soldiers were killed and injured along with Afghanistan civilians, her father said.
She received multiple and severe injuries to her right side, Bernal Lake said.
Helaina Lake graduated in 2007. She has a 2-year-old son, Aden, whom her parents are taking care of while she is deployed.
Helaina Lake is expected to be flown to Walter Reed National Medical Center in Maryland on Monday, her father said.
She has been at a hospital in Germany, he said.
“It has been stressful,” Bernal Lake said. “We’re getting through it better than I thought we would.”
Jeannine Lake’s brothers, Raymond Castonguay of Livermore and Maurice Castonguay of Livermore Falls, along with other family members, have set up a fund to help the Lake family out.
Anyone wishing to help the family can send donations to the Wounded Helaina Fund, Otis Federal Credit Union, P.O. Box 27, Jay 04239, Raymond Castonguay said Monday.
The family is also planning a spaghetti dinner around Labor Day with more information to be released later.
“There isn’t a day that has gone by that I haven’t felt truly blessed by the people in our community,” Helaina Lake’s sister, Kathryn Lake, 20, of Gorham said Monday.
“I just want everyone to know that we appreciate everything everyone has done for us. Their prayers and thoughts speak volumes about the type of people they are,” Kathryn Lake said. “We are so blessed to have their support. They are a huge factor as to why we’ve been able to get through such a terrible situation and we are forever grateful for them.”
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