Airman 1st Class Colton Read

Airman 1st Class Colton Read

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Support is pouring in for an airman from Texas who lost parts of both legs following a routine gallbladder surgery.

Airman 1st Class Colton Read, 20, of Arlington, is fighting for his life after his aorta was nicked or punctured during surgery at Travis Air Force Base in Calif. Surgeons repaired the breach enough to save his life but the blood supply to his legs was interrupted.

He's had at least 11 surgeries to save what's left of his legs, and was scheduled for at least one more.

A Web site set up by his family,, provides updates about Read's progress and posts have been flowing in - from Pennsylvania, Vermont and Texas to as far away as Finland - expressing support.

"Some people seem to be given more than others to deal with, Colton. ... I wish you the very best and from what I have seen of your strength, I know you will overcome even this," one visitor wrote. Another said: "The most important thing is to stay positive. Talk to those you love ..."

Read, who was stationed at Beale Air Force Base near Sacramento, was to have his gallbladder removed laparoscopically July 9. After his aorta was hit, University of California Davis Medical Center doctors told his family that amputation was needed.

His family said doctors are doing everything they can to save his right leg for the prosthesis.

"If this is not successful and they have to go to the hip, Colton's chances of walking and running again are minimal. He will look at many challenges ahead," the site said.

Read's wife, Jessica, could not be reached Friday to talk about the posts.

Several Texas bank accounts have been established to help support the Read family.

Duane Rubeor, a superintendent in Fort Worth's Transportation and Public Works Department, said his 70-member team was devastated when they heard the news and pitched in to help Read's father, Steve, who is on emergency vacation to be with his son, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

His family also reached out, posting Friday: "Don't count Colton out! He is a fighter, and if anyone can do this, it will be Colton."