Stefan LeRoy follows the Eagle Scout's maxim to always be prepared, but that only goes so far in war, when in an instant everything you thought you knew can change.
It might have been different had the 21-year-old Santa Rosa man followed the advice of his family and friends to stay in college, graduate and go into the Army as an officer.
But LeRoy felt he was prepared for anything, including in that moment when the world exploded around him and he rushed in to help.
The Army private first class was on patrol June 7 with the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan's Kandahar province when explosions rocked the earth.
Among those injured in the initial blasts was a young father from Georgia who LeRoy noticed was being carried on a stretcher to a waiting helicopter. LeRoy did what came naturally to him and rushed to help, not thinking about where he was stepping.
"You're not going to stop doing something because there might be an IED (improvised explosive device) out there," he said. "You have to do what you have to do to help your buddies."
He remembers grabbing the stretcher and stepping over a body, and the explosion that followed when his foot hit the ground again.
"I could tell my legs were pretty much gone," he said.
LeRoy spoke by phone this week from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where he is undergoing a painful recovery from his injuries. In addition to both of his legs being partially amputated, the 2009 Maria Carrillo High School graduate has a fractured arm and an eye injury. He also lost a small part of one finger.
His father, Mike, mother, Kathy, and twin brother, Ben, are at the hospital with him, having been summoned there by a series of phone calls that every parent of an active-duty soldier dreads.
Mike LeRoy, an independent computer programmer, said he was at the family's Rincon Valley home doing laundry June 7 when a caller informed him that his son had been taken to a hospital in Afghanistan with unknown injuries.
He drove to Meadow View Elementary School where his wife, a teacher, was packing up her classroom for the start of summer break. He could not bring himself to say anything until the pair got home.
It was another 12 hours before the family was informed that Stefan LeRoy was being flown to Germany and that his "legs had been blown off."
"At that point it was relief," Mike LeRoy said. "After the first call, you sit there overnight with all of the possible things that could go wrong way over there. It was nice to hear that he was alive."
Friends and family of the LeRoys, who are well-known in Sonoma County's scouting community, are rallying around them in what everyone expects will be a difficult recuperation for the young soldier.
"Everyone is still in shock. It just hits so close to home," said Terri Forrest, who is an assistant scoutmaster with Troop 32 of the Redwood Empire Council of the Boy Scouts of America and has known Stefan and Ben LeRoy since they started as Tiger Cubs in the first grade. "It just hits so close to home."
Stefan LeRoy was 15 when he attained scouting's highest rank in 2006. But he waited another eight months until after his brother had earned the same honor before they had a ceremony to celebrate the achievement.