Expo is fertile ground for home, garden tips<BR>

"Brandon is in good spirits," she added.

"I understand the bullet passed through his arm and he has been sent back to the states so an orthopedic specialist can work with him."

Ritter and her husband, Jimmy, learned their son had been wounded during a phone call the night of the incident from a rear detachment commander stationed at Fort Polk.

Brandon Ritter was riding in a solitary Humvee with Special Forces members who had been on patrol.

They were returning to their post about 10:30 p.m., when the vehicle came under fire south of Baghdad, where other soldiers were trying to defuse a roadside bomb, Laurie Ritter said.

The driver was shot and the vehicle crashed.

After he was wounded, Brandon was taken to a combat army surgical hospital in Baghdad.

He then was flown to Landstuhl Hospital in Germany, where he was treated for four days before being sent to Fort Scott in Illinois.

Ritter was at Fort Scott on Tuesday, awaiting transfer to Fort Polk.

A 2000 graduate of Camp Verde High School, Ritter joined the Army about a year ago.

After basic training, he received his medical training to become a paramedic at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.

Laurie Ritter left for Fort Polk on Wednesday for her first visit with her son since he was wounded.

Jimmy Ritter and Jeana Morris, Brandon's sister, will remain in Kingman for now.

Because he is facing the prospect of surgery and rehabilitation, there is no way to estimate how long his period of recovery may last, Laurie Ritter said.

However, she added, her son has told her he wants to continue his medical education in the Army once he recovers.

Gardeners can learn all about the myth and mysteries of drought-tolerant plants and how to care for fruit trees at the third annual Home and Garden Expo, beginning Friday.