HOMEPAGE www.danieljvance.com

By Daniel J. Vance

The morning of April 6, 2004, about 30 miles west of Fallujah, Iraq, Lt. Lonnie Moore and other U.S. soldiers were speeding in a Bradley vehicle to rescue ambushed Marines. They belonged to Charley Company, 1-16 Infantry, 1st Infantry Division, out of Fort Riley, Kansas.

Then [some insurgents] shot a rocket propelled grenade through my Bradley turret,” Moore said in a telephone interview from his home in Maryland. “The [grenade] went through my leg and took off my gunner's right hand. I didn't know I was hit for a good thirty seconds, until my gunner told me. At that point I was in preservation mode. I wanted to save everyone else, because that was my job.”

He assumed he'd bleed and die, and soon blacked out. He awoke in a Baghdad military hospital, where doctors amputated his injured leg. He was flown to Germany, and on to Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

There, doctors asked him about his goals in life. He said he wanted to stay in the Army, be deployed and, as for his personal life, dearly wanted to continue his running, and snow and water skiing. Though not able to remain in the military, he in time would resume his sporting passions.

I was at Walter Reed only a week when Kirk Bauer came into my room,” said Moore. “He told me all that Disabled Sports USA could provide, and explained about adaptive sports equipment.”

Disabled Sports USA is a Maryland-based, national nonprofit started in 1967 by disabled Vietnam veterans to help anyone with a disability learn adaptive sports, such as water and snow skiing. Kirk Bauer has been its executive director for 23 years.

Disabled Sports USA means a lot to me,” said Moore, who retired from the Army as a captain. “They trained us how to do adaptive sports. A lot of people when injured try to get back into sports, but don't know anything about adaptive equipment. If it hadn't been for Disabled Sports USA, I wouldn't have known about three-track snow and water skiing. They brought in the teachers, too.”

Today, Moore is a consultant for a small arms manufacturing company. He's also president of the “Wounded Warrior Disabled Sports Project,” which often works alongside Disabled Sports USA. Among other services, it delivers backpacks filled with “comfort” items to recently hospitalized disabled soldiers.

For more, see www.danieljvance.com, www.dsusa.org, or www.woundedwarriorproject.org,