ST. LOUIS (KSDK)- For at least one graduate, Ritenour in northwest St. Louis County is more than a school: It's home.
"It is so good to see you, " one former teacher said.
Cory Remsburg is a 2001 graduate, a former percussionist in the band.
When he comes back to visit the band room, students come up to shake his hand.
Remsburg is treated like a hero because that's exactly what he is.
He's the Army Ranger who was celebrated by President Obama at this year's State of the Union address. Though he was honored to be there, during a sustained standing ovation, he was thinking about all the other wounded warriors.
"So the standing ovation was not for me. It was for everybody," he said.
Sgt. Remsburg served 10 tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was during that 10th deployment -Oct. 1, 2009 -- when his father got a phone call that he thought was from Cory.
"And I immediately went to the mode of 'hey Cory how you doing' in anticipation of a response and the response I got was this is Cory's company commander. And that's when it hit, I knew something was wrong," he said.
Cory had been severely injured. Shrapnel from a roadside bomb pierced his brain, paralyzing the left side of his body and causing blindness in his right eye. He was brought to a VA hospital in Florida and coming out of a three and half month coma is the first thing he remembers.
"Waking up in Tampa, "he said. "Unable to move my arm. I thought, 'oh darn I'm in trouble.' What's wrong with my arm?"
Since then, he'll tell you he's been in a bigger battle than anything he ever faced overseas.
"Every day, five days a week, he's on a shuttle to the therapy 25 miles away," his dad said.
Four to six hours a day, he's learning to talk again and walk again.
As he showed us, he takes each challenge one step at a time.
"I sat down with him and I said what's going on why are you so patient. He said, what choice do I have?" Craig said.
Though he and his family now live in Phoenix, the Remsburgs come to St. Louis as often as possible.
"We have a lot of friends here in this town," his dad said. "It's an awesome town."
Depending on the time of year, you might see him hanging with the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center or back with his old friends at Ritenour High. And while the roadside bomb may have temporarily taken his independence it didn't take his sense of humor.
Recalling that night at the State of the Union-I asked him what he else he was thinking about during the standing ovation.
"Don't fall!, "he said.
There is clearly plenty of fight left in this Army Ranger and though he doesn't live here anymore the St. Louis area can always say it's home to Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg. In other words, home of the brave.