Wounded Medford soldier moved to Florida hospital

A Medford soldier wounded in Afghanistan is now at a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Florida.

U.S. Army Sgt. Tom Rollason, 43, has been transferred from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., to the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa where he is undergoing physical rehabilitation, according to his brother-in-law, Johnny Cordero of Medford.

The sergeant is receiving a regimen of physical, occupational and recreational therapy, said Cordero, whose sister, Sandee, is married to Rollason. The couple are also members of the Lamb's Home Fellowship church in Medford where Cordero is the minister.

"Tom is still adjusting to his new environment in Florida," Cordero said Saturday, noting the soldier has been in Florida a little longer than a week. "He and Sandee are getting their footing there."

Doctors have indicated that Rollason could be released from the hospital in nine months to a year, Cordero said.

"But it may only be six months — Tom has been improving faster than they expected," he added.

Cordero and his wife, Carolyn, will be traveling to Florida at the end of the month to visit the Rollasons, who have three grown children.

A member of the 569th Combat Engineers/4th Engineer Division, Rollason was deployed to Afghanistan in February from Iraq, where he had just started his second tour.

The sergeant suffered multiple internal injuries, including a spinal injury, in a roadside bomb explosion Sept. 20 near Kandahar. He currently uses a wheelchair.

Friends of the Rollasons held a fundraiser last week to help make Rollason's home in Medford wheelchair-accessible. The needed work includes building ramps for the front and back doors, widening the bathroom and related projects.

Contributions to help the family can be made in Rollason's name at local U.S. Bank branches, as well as at the Rogue Federal Credit Union.

Cards and letters can be set to: Sgt. Thomas E. Rollason, Room #042-1, c/o James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital, 13000 Bruce B. Down Blvd., Tampa, FL 33612.

Known as "Rolly" by his friends, Rollason worked at Biomass One in White City for several years. He launched his military career as a Navy diver and underwater welder. He later joined the Naval Reserve and became a steelworker in the Seabees.

He served in Iraq in 2006-07 with the Navy Seabees' Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 18. Following his hitch in the Naval Reserve, he immediately joined the regular Army.

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 776-4496 or e-mail him at pfattig@mailtribune.com.

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