There are more than 2 million disabled veterans in the United States and that number grows as the war on terrorism rages on.
3TV caught up with three service members who are definitely not letting their injuries keep them on the sidelines.
“It was in a room that was 12 by 12,” Navy Seal Sr. Chief Mike Day said. “The gunfight was initially started by them shooting the rifle out of my hands. I pulled out my pistol and got into it with four dudes. I was shot 27 times, 16 to the body and 11 to my body armor.”
“I parked on top of thee IEDs under a pressure plate and got rocked pretty good and thrown about 50 feet away from the truck,” Navy Corpsman Petty Officer 3rd Class Kevin Ivory recalled. “My gunner lost his arm and as the story goes, I wrapped a tourniquet around his arm and I passed out. I woke up again and started to treat him again. So, I was going in and out of consciousness until the med vac came.”
“I was in a big firefight,” Navy Seal Lt. Jason Redman said. “I was hit eight times between my body armor, helmet, and weapons. I then took two rounds in the elbow and one round in the face.”
Day, Ivory and Redman are all bound together not only for their service to this country, but the injuries they sustained while fighting in Iraq.
“It’s been a long road, but hanging out with guys like Mike Day and Jason Redman, you can't help but just love life and appreciate the fact that we're still here,” Ivory said.
Ivory, who is from the Valley, said that while the road to recovery has been long for all of them, including countless surgeries and therapy, these war veterans are about to embark on a different challenge, summiting Mount Rainier.
“We go from extreme adventures like climbing Mount Rainier to fly-fishing trips and horseback riding and motorcycle riding,” Micah Clark said.
Clark is the founder of Camp Patriot, a nonprofit organization that makes it possible for disabled U.S. military veterans to experience outdoor adventures.
“It’s kind of giving them the light at the end of the tunnel and saying life isn't over, we’re just living it a little differently,” Clark said.
“Doing stuff like this will boost that confidence and it gets them back on the track to getting back to what their new normal is going to be,” Day said.
The guys have been preparing for the big moment with the help of Iron90, Camp Patriot's official fitness training partner. They've hiked Piestewa Peak, Camelback Mountain and Mount Humphreys.
“I'm just humbled to be able to do this and give back,” Iron90 co-founder Robert Vera said. “I see the sacrifice for not only them, but their families and the community we have. It represents a fabric of support.”
The climbers say it is not just about support, it is also about inspiration.
“It shows the wounded guys, 'Hey if you can climb Mount Rainier, there's nothing I can't do', but bigger than that, it shows Americans if they see wounded guys doing this, they should be saying to themselves, 'If these guys can do this, what's stopping me from accomplishing my dreams',” Redman said.
The guys make the trek up Mount Rainier July 13. To keep track of their progress, log on to Camp Patriot.