Can These 2 Amputee Veterans Conquer Mt Everest?
Don’t try to tell Charlie Linville or Chad Jukes that being an amputee makes them handicapped. They can’t hear you from where they are anyway.
The two men, both combat veterans, are currently in Tibet. Each is part of a separate climbing team that is about to try and scale Mount Everest.
What else do they have in common? Both lost a leg to an explosion during the Iraq War.
Jukes was injured in 2006 as a result of an anti-tank mine detonation. Linville’s incident occurred in 2011 due to a buried explosive.
The two veterans have their individual reasons for attempting this feat.
Linville was bothered by the change in people’s perception of him after he became an amputee. He went from being viewed as a tough Marine to being pitied. “Getting to the top I kind of view as vanquishing those demons, showing all these people that, ‘Don’t you have pity for disabled veterans because we’re capable of so much more than you think,'” he explained.
For Jukes it is about proving a point. “There is a pressure to show the world that I can climb Mount Everest,”he stated. “To say, ‘I have one leg, but I can climb Mount Everest. I have PTSD, but can climb Mount Everest. I have a traumatic brain injury, but I can climb Mount Everest.'”
Charlie Linville is climbing with the group called The Heroes Project. The organization was founded in 2009. It’s mission is “to improve the care and protection of heroes through individual support, community empowerment and systemic change.”
The team that Chad Jukes is ascending with is US Expeditions & Explorations (USX.) According to their site, they are striving to “enable Soldiers and Veterans to continue serving their country, all while furthering science, exploration or causes important to our country.”
Whichever climber makes it to the summit of the world’s tallest mountain first will make history.
No combat amputee has ever reached the top.
No matter who gains the title, both men should be lauded. Not only did they serve their country, but they are serving as an example to other veterans.
By taking on this challenge they are giving hope to those who have suffered as they have. They are showing them what they can be capable of.
With veteran suicide on the rise (one every 65 minutes) men like Linville and Jukes are much needed to provide hope and inspiration.
© 2016 Vianna Vaughan