Vet with 2 Transplanted Arms Throws Out First Pitch in Tear-Jerking Video
How does a Marine who lost both his arms and his legs in Afghanistan throw a baseball?
With incredible dignity and style, it turns out.
It seems hard to believe, but a wounded veteran just brought the crowd at a Rockland Boulders ballgame to its feet by tossing the ceremonial first pitch … eight years after all of his limbs were blown off while serving his country.
John Peck, it’s safe to say, is an amazing young man. He’s faced more than his fair share of adversity: As a Marine deployed to Iraq in 2007, he suffered a traumatic brain injury. He could have left the service. Instead, he re-enlisted after his recovery and redeployed to Afghanistan.
But there was more danger waiting for him there, and his second tour nearly cost him everything.
“I stepped on 30 pounds of homemade explosives,” he said, according to The Smokeroom. “I instantly lost my right arm above the elbow. I instantly lost both my legs. And then my left arm had what’s called a de-gloving incident. It’s just kind of hanging there by a thread.”
With no choice, emergency surgeons were forced to remove Peck’s left arm as well, leaving him a quadruple amputee. “I had a dark spot in my life, [but] there was some part of me that wanted to stay alive,” explained the veteran.
In the past, that would have left the gravely wounded Marine dependent on prosthetic devices to have anything close to a normal life. Miraculously, doctors came to him with a proposal: an experimental 13-hour surgery to transplant two human arms from an anonymous donor onto the young man’s body.
“In August 2016, after two years on a waiting list, Peck said he became the second wounded veteran to receive arm transplants, which replaced the prosthetic limbs he had relied upon,” reported USA Today.
It was a long road, but the veteran is now able to shower, dress, cook and even drive — “things I thought I would never do,” he said.
When the Rockland Boulders, an independent team in New York, found out about the amazing man and his equally amazing story, they invited him to the ballfield to receive what every veteran deserves: sincere appreciation.
“Sitting in his wheelchair, he used his arm transplants to get the ball across the plate and received a loud ovation from the fans,” USA Today reported.
“Peck’s first pitch was part of the Boulders’ annual Military Appreciation Night, which also included a motorcycle procession presented by Hudson Valley Honor Flight, escorting Gold Star families to the field and honoring those who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam,” the newspaper continued.
The word “hero” gets tossed around a lot, and it’s even used to describe millionaire athletes. For people who have gotten to know Peck, however, that description takes on a whole new meaning.
“He’s a war hero, he’s my hero and I’d like to share him with 5,000 people,” said Barry Fixler, a fellow Marine veteran and New York businessman who helped bring the amputee to the team’s attention.
“He is a gift, a breath of fresh air, no complaints,” Fixler said about Peck. “When I speak to him on the phone he’s just another fella. … He speaks soft, he speaks to the point. There’s no animosity, there’s no feeling sorry.”
Life can get tough for everyone. When things get difficult, however, it’s worth remembering individuals like John Peck. His tenacity to never give up is truly inspiring, and we can’t think of anybody more worthy of being honored by America.
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