By Guest Blogger Kirk Bauer, Executive Director of Disabled Sports USA
I lost my left leg above the knee to a grenade during an ambush in the Mekong Delta serving in the 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam in 1969.
After returning to California from Vietnam and enduring seven surgeries in six months, it was hard to imagine I could ever have a good quality of life. Fortunately, during my hospitalization at Letterman Army Medical Center, I was lucky enough to be introduced to Jim Winthers, a fellow Army veteran who served in the 10th Mountain Division in World War II. He taught me to ski with one leg, along with a handful of other Vietnam veterans who had recently become amputees.
When we first met and Jim suggested I try skiing, I thought he was crazy, but I agreed to go with him just to get out of the hospital. From the first moment he took me out on the slopes, I was hooked and I was motivated to see what other challenges I could take on.
Skiing taught me that I could have a great life.