The Wounded Warrior

 

Many soldiers’ memories of the  battlefield are omnipresent thanks to the scars and missing limbs that are their  dark souvenirs of war.

While they’ll have to live with these  injuries for the rest of their lives, these military men and women aren’t  defined by their handicaps as proven in photographer Tom  Sperduto‘s photo series.

His year-long project photographing  wounded warriors shows  these brave men and women returning to life at  home, marked by the past but many of them happy and grinning. 

He calls this project ‘one of the  greatest honors of my life.

‘I have met amazing heroes and feel  good knowing that my pictures are making a difference in their lives,’ Mr  Sperduto said.

Mr Sperduto shot the set of images in  conjunction with the Wounded Warriors Project which  helps to ‘foster the  most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our  nation’s history’.

The foundation raises awareness of  wounded warriors causes, helps injured military members and provides other  programs to meet the needs of the men and women who sacrificed their lives for  their country. Open arms: Robert Loria lost his left arm and the use of his right leg from a roadside bomb in Iraq

Open arms: Robert Loria lost his left arm and the use of  his right leg from a roadside bomb in Iraq

Before and after: Marine Corps Lance Cpl Ian Lennon clutches a picture of himself before he was involved in fuel tanker explosion in Kuwait. The accident caused third degree burns on his face. He's pictured above near his home in Lindenhurst, New Jersey
Before and after: Marine Corps Lance Cpl Ian Lennon  clutches a picture of himself before he was involved in fuel tanker explosion in  Kuwait. The accident caused third degree burns on his face. He’s pictured above  near his home in Lindenhurst, New Jersey read more

Bullseye

For most professional athletes the Olympic Games is the pinnacle of achievement, their ultimate goal.

And there is one archer who is quite literally chomping at the bit to get to London 2012.

Jeff Fabry, of Tulare, California, is one of the world’s best at his sport, a five-time Special Games world champion, and three-time Paralympics medallist.

But Fabry’s achievement is made all the more impressive by the fact that he has only one arm and one leg, having lost the two other limbs in a horrific motorcycle accident at the age of 15.

His life-changing injuries inspired him to learn how to fire arrows using his teeth, pulling them back by biting on a mouthpiece that he made from a nylon dog leash.

“My buddies were out hitting the hills hunting and I was stuck at home and I was like, no, I don’t like this, so I figured out a way to shoot and it happened to be with my teeth,” he told Fox News.

“It was trial and error to find what I considered to be the perfect mouthpiece, where I could be proficient.”

It’s the kind of thing that would give a dentist nightmares, but Fabry insisted: “I’ve been doing this for 13 years and my teeth still look and feel the same the first day I started. Everything is going good, luckily.”

Fabry will compete on the U.S Paralympics Team in London this summer but international success is not his only goal.

He teaches the sport he loves to members of the Wounded Warriors Project, the nonprofit whose mission is to help injured service members cope in civilian society.

“What I’m really proud of is being able to work with our vets who are coming back from the sandbox with different disabilities,” he said.

I got hurt before I could join the military, and this is kind of a way that I can give back to my country by helping our heroes.”

Jim Castaneda is one veteran to have benefited from Fabry’s passion and skill. A member of the Wounded Warriors, Castaneda suffered a traumatic brain injury and a stroke while stationed in the Philippines with the Navy.

He told the news channel:’It’s changed my life completely … I found something that I can do and I really enjoy it and love something now.’

“I’m not just sitting there anymore, like watching my life go by and feeling sorry for myself. Now I’m actually getting up and doing something for myself and trying something else.”

Fabry is gearing up to coach Team Navy Coast Guard in archery at the Warrior Games in Colorado Springs.

Teams from the Marines, Navy and Coast Guard, Army and Air Force compete against each other in a U.S Department of Defence competition that is similar to the Olympics.

Arribution: Daily Mail