A 19 year old service man, home for the holidays to visit his mother and siblings, has been hospitalized after being attacked by a dozen men after leaving the Philadelphia Mummers Parade.
The young man, Austin Freni, a native of South Jersey, was walking down the street with his mother and girlfriend shortly after 11 PM when men began making derogatory comments about Freni’s ARMY jacket. Freni was hit by one of the men before the other men joined in the assault.
As of Tuesday afternoon Freni was hospitalized and listed in good condition by a hospital spokeswoman. The attack has left Freni with a broken jaw. The Philadelphia Police Department are investigating the assault.
Several weeks ago Austin and his family were the recipients of a gift from a kind stranger who learned about the family’s difficulties getting Austin home for Christmas. The stranger purchased a plane ticket for Austin so he could be home from Fort Benning, Georgia and spend the holidays with his family. Lori Freni, Austin’s mother, had lost her job weeks earlier and has been suffering from health issues. Unable to purchase a plane ticket herself, she set up a GoFundMe page to raise money. That is when Jennifer Richardson, who had never met the family, paid for the ticket to bring Austin home.
Lori says Austin will have to get plates put into his jaw and his jaw will need to be wired shut for eight weeks.
Austin was set to be deployed to the Mid East in less than two months.