Friday, July 20, 2012

Role Models - Amputees

Overcoming any major differences--whether physical or emotional or sometimes both--requires much from within.  Learn/teach from these stories.  (What a series of lessons these can be--discuss the science and technology, special movie effects, mind over matter, alternate ways of viewing selves and situations, regaining a positive attitude, tolerance for differences, geography, and defining values such as resilience, perservance, etc.  Beverly

Spencer West, Canada
“Man who lost his legs as a child scales 19,000 ft-high Kilimanjaro by crawling on his HANDS for seven days”
Photos and article:  What is so amazing is that West had his legs amputated below his pelvis; in other words, he appears to have little or no torso from the stomach area down.  In one photo, he is wearing a tee shirt emblazoned with “Redefine Possible.”  He has! Ret. 7-20-12

“Legless Spencer West reaches Mount Kilimanjaro’s peak”
Article and videos ret. 7-20-12

“A Heroic Climber with No Legs Scaled Mt. Kilimanjaro”
Spencer West, from Toronto, Canada, climbed the tallest mountain in Africa using just his hands to raise over $500,000 for Free the Children, an African charity. 
Article only    Ret. 6-24-12

Oksana Masters, Kentucky via Ukraine 
“Born without legs, rower now heading for London”
Oksana Masters overcame a birth defect that left her without legs to become a world-class Paralympic rower.  Born with no fibulas because of exposure to a nuclear power plant in the Ukraine, Oksana was independent even in an orphanage.  Adopted at seven and brought to Louisville, she did not like adaptive rowing because she did not want to be labeled, but she loved the water.  U.S. Marine Rob Jones, her rowing partner, stepped on IUD in Afghanistan in 2010; like Oksana, he never looked back.  They will compete as trunk and arm rowers.   Video   ret. 7-16-12

Jason Gunter, Florida
“Double amputee trains for Ironman”
 Twenty years ago, firefighter Jason Gunter lost right arm and left leg to a boat propeller.  Now he is an attorney, husband, father, and athlete.  Ret. 7-20-12

 Geoff Turner, San Francisco
“SF Amputee Has Olympic Role Model”
Geoff Turner from San Francisco lost his leg in a motorcycle accident two decades ago.  But with prosthetic technology, he’s learned to run in marathons and more. Back then he had no role models, but now he’s got Oscar Pistorius to look up to.   [Note:  This was an MSNBC story, which has been removed.  Turner uses a running blade made by Ossur.]  Ret. 7-5-12

More on the running blade used by Pistorius and Geoff Turner, amputee marathon runner
“The Blade Runner – Oscar Pistorius” 
Chanman’s Blog

You will think I was scrapbooking online here, but this is an interesting story.  Read what you wish, but this man is a role model in multiple ways--double amputee, soldier, West Pointer, mentor, role model, motivator, leader, actor, African-American.  Bev

Colonel Greg Gadson, U.S.A.  
“From Army Colonel to movie star”
Resilient, Colonel Greg Gadson served and led in Kuwait, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.  His life since has unfolded in many surprising ways, especially being cast as a hero in the movie Battleship.
In 2007 in Iraq, he was severely injured when his armored vehicle hit a roadside bomb.
At first he isolated himself, but quickly realized
I couldn’t stand quitting, couldn’t stand silence  couldn’t stand just giving up.
Col. Gaston became the first soldier to test a new prosthetic leg, went back to school to earn an MA, became co-captain of the New York Giants whom he helped motivate to the 2007 Super Bowl win.
You’re really truly not going to be exactly like you were before, and if that’s where you’re trying to go, then you’re going in the wrong direction, you’re going backwards.
Video in collaboration with The Grio, NBC’s African American news community   Ret. 5-18-12

"Double amputee soldier takes command of Fort Belvoir"
A soldier injured by an improvised explosive device in Iraq in 2007 became the first double amputee to take command of a major military installation, the Army reported on its home page on Wednesday.   Ret. 7-20-12

“Col. Greg Gadson takes over Fort Belvoir command”
Col. Gadson becomes the leader of a 46,000 soldier installation—the first time an amputee has been promoted to base commander.  This video and article mentions he was a mentor/advisor and honorary captain of the New York Giants.   Ret. 7-20-12

“Army Col. Greg Gadson serves as inspiration as Giants make Super Bowl run”   Ret. 7-20-12
"Col. Gregory Gadson in Battleship"
Fighting external battles in the movie, Mick learns the real fight toward becoming a full man -- is in his soul. It’s a lesson Gadson learned in Iraq.
When your whole life is turned upside down, you’ve got to reorient yourself and find your dignity… your energy and…your respect.  Those are real life struggles.

"Black Amputee In Battleship Movie Lost Legs In Iraq"
This video has more of the action clips from the movie and filming behind the scenes so it would appeal to youth visually.   Ret. 12-12

"Col. injured in Iraq lands role in Battleship"
‘Interesting information about his prosthetics as well.     Ret. 7-12-12

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