Lifestyle & Human Interest

Toby Keith Surprises Veteran Who Lost His Legs with $16K All-Terrain Wheelchair


When Brandon Rumbaugh stepped on an IED while serving in Afghanistan in November 2010, he didn’t know what his future would look like anymore.

After finding his identity in being a young Marine, he could only guess his future would be completely different: “I then imagined being in a wheelchair, having a caretaker, never getting married, never having kids and never being able to enjoy life again,” he wrote in an article for CNN.

It was meeting other veterans with more severe injuries that shook up Rumbaugh and made him re-imagine his life.

“During my recovery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, I was shown — maybe in a way I wish I didn’t see — a new light,” he wrote.

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“I was exposed to other men and woman who made my injuries look minimal. I saw wounded service members who were missing two legs and an arm, or even both legs and both arms. I subsequently looked at myself and said, ‘What excuses do I have to not live a normal, successful life?'”

After a time of recovery, more surgery and relearning how to walk after losing both legs, Rumbaugh returned home — where he was met with a simple question, but one that prompted him to take a good, hard look at his life and push himself to find meaning.

“So Brandon, what is next?”

At the time, he wasn’t sure. But in the next few years, he not only started his own motivational speaking business, he also joined the leadership for the “It’s About the Warrior Foundation,” where he is able to help fellow struggling veterans.

“At the end of the day, 99 percent of what I have accomplished after my injuries was possible because of other people who lent a helping hand, gave me advice, or were there when I needed someone,” he admitted. “This is how it should be for all veterans.”

In a recent show of generosity, country music star Toby Keith and a nonprofit presented Rumbaugh with a thoughtful gift that will help with the veteran’s mobility concerns.

Rumbaugh has managed to live a life full of those things he originally thought would be out of reach for him, and mentioned that an all-terrain wheelchair would be useful now that he has a young daughter and wants to stay active outdoors with her, according to CNN.

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The Independence Fund and Keith footed the $16,000 bill and gifted the veteran the wheelchair, backstage passes and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sing alongside the star at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh.

“One thing we know for sure about Toby Keith is that he loves his American Soldiers!” The Independence Fund posted on Sept. 28. “Toby showed his gratitude for our nation’s heroes again last night, as he helped us present an all-terrain trackchair to wounded Veteran, Corporal Brandon Rumbaugh, in Pittsburgh, Pa!”

“While with the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines in Afghanistan, Brandon stepped on an IED as he was carrying a Marine to safety, resulting in the loss of both of his legs. Following his retirement, he was awarded a Navy Commendation Medal with a V for Valor.”

“This Marine definitely deserves all the praise that he receives!”

“We thank you for serving our country Brandon!” the post concluded. “& Toby Keith, thanks for making this special moment possible!”

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