Thomas Autry no longer has holes in his shoes.
He starts a new job Monday. People from all over the United States have offered to send him money. Some have offered to buy him new a new pair of shoes to replace the ones with worn soles that became symbolic of his story. On Thursday, veterans rewarded his heroism with honorary bag of sand from Iwo Jima during a luncheon in Buckhead.All for an act of self defense that left one young person dead and another wounded, an incident that still troubles Autry even though it has made the former Marine a hero in the eyes of many.
The resulting public outpouring has moved the shy, 36-year-old Desert Storm veteran. "The people who are contacting me with love in their hearts are the ones I was fighting for in the Gulf War," Autry said recently. "It's affirming."