EIGHTY-FOUR, Pa. - A student from Western Pennsylvania who was wounded in the Virginia Tech massacre plans to be at the school's commencement on Saturday to receive his two diplomas.
Kevin Sterne, 22, of Eighty-four, is slowly recovering from his injuries and will be on crutches when he accepts his degrees in electrical engineering and media communications, according to his stepfather, John Grimes.
"He wants to go there, and he'll be there," Grimes told the Observer-Reporter in Washington, Pa.
Thirty-two people were killed and more than two dozen injured when Seung-Hui Cho, 23, a senior English major, went on a shooting rampage April 16. Cho then fatally shot himself.
One of the bullets tore through the femoral artery in Sterne's right leg and remains embedded in his body, Grimes said.
Sterne fashioned a tourniquet from an electrical cord to keep from bleeding to death. The image of the former Eagle Scout - limp and bloodied, in the arms of four others carrying him to safety - flashed across television screens and front pages of newspapers nationwide.
He has been released from a Virginia hospital and is on campus so doctors and therapists can treat him daily, Grimes said.
Sterne undergoes therapy thrice daily to strengthen his leg. The process is slow and agonizing, and it could take at least six months before the leg is completely healed, Grimes said.
Sterne openly talks about the shootings with family, friends and a personal counselor Virginia Tech assigned to him. "He understands it all, I'm sure," Grimes said.
The family hopes to bring Sterne back to Washington County after graduation.
Sterne plans to return to the Blacksburg campus in the fall to begin studying for a master's degree in electrical engineering.