We’re going to make Thursdays officially Travis Thursdays, and that we we don’t forget to bring you an update on the tough paratrooper who’s adapting to life without limbs — or without, shall we say, the factory equipment, because the physicians and technicians at Walter Reed have been outfitting him with prostheses.
You’ve already seen his prosthetic hand, well, this week we can send you to Facebook for a video of Travis’s progress at walking lessons. Travis is walking in “shorties,” short prostheses that are part of the amputee’s version of training wheels (the braces/crutches on his arms are another part of the same rig, and he wears a harness attached to a ceiling track to mitigate any fall).
(This also is our atonement for not having a Wednesday Weapons Website this week. We had a couple of ideas but they were all kind of blah. Better to wait and find a good one for next week).
Anyway, it’s been busy for Travis over the last ten days or so. He and Kelsey celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary on the 21st. He’s also met a bunch of interesting people, including a World War II vet and Marine triple-amputee Tyler Southern — who taught him some tricks and can bee seen at the link running on his shorties. (Tyler also lost parts of his remaining hand).Tyler intends to stay in the USMC. He’s been dealing with his amputations for about a year longer than Travis, and now he’s sharing some of his tips for practical living with the new guy. Travis says:
He’s a badass. He’s one of the gentlemen I met here at Walter Reed. He’s the true meaning of an American hero. And a champion. He helps me and inspires me everyday, showing me where I want to be and what I can achieve. With a good sense of humor, smile, and the heart of a lion he “steps up” to help the newly injured warriors come to terms with our new normal. He also taught me how to get on and off the floor from my couch, to play with my daughter, all by myself.
Travis and Kelsey’s daughter Chloe was born while he was in Afghanistan.
Hundreds of our soldiers and Marines have suffered amputations as a result of their injuries in Afghanistan or Iraq, but triple amputees like Tyler are very rare, and there have been only a few surviving quadruple amputees like Travis.
As always, the best source for Travis’s updates is his own web page, but we’re going to keep posting them here weekly because, frankly, the guts of this man and his family is an inspiration to us. One always feels better about the human race after contact with guys like Travis and Tyler, and Navy EOD guy Taylor Morris, another quad amputee who also has his own web page with a journal kept, at this point, mostly by his girlfriend Danielle Kelly.