It's not unusual to see wounded warriors go on to do great things after they've recovered from their injuries. Some eventually compete in the Paralympic Games while others even return to active duty. For, Army Capt. Christian Labra, recovery meant helping other soldiers who have gone through the same things he did. More than 10 years after being injured in Iraq, Labra has become a doctor in an effort to not only treat fellow wounded warriors but as a tribute to the skilled physicians and surgeons who helped him recover, according to American Forces Press Service.
Tragedy to triumph
Labra had his pelvis and legs broken when he was hit by a collapsing wall. After being pulled from the rubble, he eventually was moved to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. It was there he saw firsthand how impressive the medical experts in the military are. When he returned stateside, he abandoned plans to pursue a law degree and instead headed to the world of medicine.
"I am where I am because people took really, really good care of me, and I am so incredibly grateful," Labra told the news source. "Now, as a doctor, I want to be the kind of ally who can lead someone through the dark. To be able to do that is really powerful. It is awesome when it works."
One of many
By the end of 2012, more than 50,000 troops had been wounded serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to figures from the Department of Defense. Labra's success story should serve as a clear indication that many of these injured servicemembers can achieve impressive levels of success. In fact, a group of wounded warriors recently began an impressive 3,000 miles trek from one end of the U.S. to the other.
The servicemembers are participating in the 32nd annual Race Across America event, which kicked off June 15. The course takes them through 12 states and is among the longest such races in the world. Many of the participants are riding hand-powered bicycles to make the trip due to injuries.
"Race Across America is opportunity for me to be an example and show that there is nothing combat wounded veterans can't do," said Cpl. Justin Gaertner, who lost both legs due to an improvised explosive device.