We have had the privilege to be able to sponsor a truly inspiring individual and Paralympian athlete, Mr. Kortney Clemons.
Here is a bit about Kortney’s background, and why he is a real inspiration:
After losing a leg in roadside bomb in 2005 while helping a colleague, Mr. Kortney Clemons was the first Iraq war Veteran to qualify for the U.S. Paralympic team and compete at the Beijing Games.
Five days before he was due to be discharged from the Army, on Feb. 21, 2005, 24 year old Clemons, a combat medic in the 1st Cavalry Division, went to help a soldier whose Humvee had been blown off a dirt road outside Baghdad by an insurgent’s bomb. He was preparing the wounded soldier for an evacuation when another bomb exploded and killed three other nearby medics and devastatingly injured Clemons’ right leg above the knee.
“I crawled to the other side of the road where my friends were, and they covered me up,” Clemons said. “I was sitting, talking to them, and they were trying to keep me alert.” Doctors severed Clemons’ right leg from the mid-thigh down. He was later transported to an Army rehabilitation center in San Antonio, and then fitted with a natural-looking, flesh-tone prosthetic that allows him to walk on his own with a limp. “It was like starting all over. It was like a new beginning for me,” Clemons said. “I can do what anyone else does, it just takes a little more time.”
Six months later Clemons began running with a prosthetic limb, insisting he went through a period of “re-introducing myself to myself”. Yet Clemons insists he searched his soul for the reasons that God would want to take his leg, and found solace in sprinting. “I came to the realisation that he did this for a reason. He wanted me to make something more of myself. I had to lose my leg to find the real me.” A few months after that uplifting first run he claimed the US national Paralympic title in the 100m sprint. He failed to win a medal in Beijing, but the single amputee continues to improve. The native of Little Rock, Mississippi, has always loved sports. Before joining the Army, he played junior college football and in spite of being 5ft10 and 145lbs, was a formidable defensive back. He has shown the same inspiration as a Paralympian.
Clemons insists he is “living proof that you can accomplish anything”.