Rimes surprises injured Iraq vet with van


PALM BAY, Fla. -- Iraq veteran Peter Reid has gotten a boost from LeAnn Rimes.

A 2004 mortar attack in Iraq's Anbar province left Reid, a Navy Seabee, partially paralyzed, blind in one eye and dependent on a motorized wheelchair. He also suffered a brain injury, and bits of shrapnel remain in his head and body.

Reid hadn't left his Palm Bay house for months because it took two people to lift him into and out of his van.

Now he's looking forward to shopping trips with his wife, Michele, because of a gift from Rimes.

Last week in Nashville, Tenn., the 24-year-old country singer handed Reid the keys to a new wheelchair-accessible van.

Chevrolet, the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes and Rimes, a supporter of the veterans group, teamed up to present the van to Reid.

"She's wonderful," Reid said of Rimes after returning Monday to Florida. "She walked up to me like I was part of her family. She said, 'Pete, come with me. I have something for you.' I went out and there was the van. It was quite a surprise."

The Chevrolet Uplander is equipped with an automatic door and wheelchair ramp, allowing Reid to maneuver his wheelchair into and out of the van.

While in Nashville, Reid and his wife attended a Rimes concert and her fan-club breakfast.