Soldiers, Marines and sailors who lost legs or sustained severe injuries during combat in Iraq received donated Segways Wednesday from Segs4Vets.
Six of the 17 wounded warriors lost legs, seven sustained severe soft tissue damage, which affects their ability to walk, and three suffered spinal cord injuries in combat, including Spc. Darren Landry.
“Right now, I’ve only had three hours training and I can get around on it, I can maneuver anywhere. I can go up to 25 miles per hour and I really love it, it’s going to change my life,” Landry said.
Spc. Landry was injured in 2006 during a mortar attack in Iraq.
“I had injured discs in my back and had to have two rods put in my back with six screws,” the soldier said it’s tough to get around. “I couldn’t go through the malls, I’m on a cane. Very short distances, 100 meters max. It’s very hard to walk long distances with the hardware,” he said. Now Segway has given me a totally new life. It’s amazing.”
Tens of thousands of men and women in uniform have been wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and hundreds have lost limbs to amputation. Segways allow the military service members to perform everyday activities beyond the physical limitations of a wheelchair. The device also keeps them standing on their new prosthetic legs for longer periods of time and allows them to preserve their energy.
”We represent grateful Americans who passionately believe that when those serving our nation go into harm's way and suffer serious injury and permanent disability, they must have every resource and tool available to them to fulfill their dreams and live the highest quality of life possible,” said Jerry Kerr, a founder of Segs4Vets.
Kerr became a quadriplegic after a diving accident ten years ago.
"These veterans changed the world for people with disabilities. Disabled vets are responsible not only for advances in rehabilitation technology and medicine, but also for transforming the perceptions of society towards those with disabilities," he said.
Spc. Landry says he doesn’t know how much a Segway costs, but says however much they are; they’re worth every penny.
“I recommend it for anybody who has got any disabilities,” he said. “It’s amazing.”