Triple amputee Vietnam War veteran from Rochester shares testimony; inspires thousands
FOX 47 News
“I think if you have a passion and a drive and a courage and a willingness to live and move forward. I think that’s my message to everybody out there is don’t let anything stand in your way of a burning desire that you’ve got to accomplish something. Mine was just to live life.” Jim SurselyROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX47) – Triple amputee Vietnam veteran Jim Sursely is shared his story of perseverance, courage and hope Thursday.
Sursely, a native of Rochester, is a former National Commander for the 1.3 million members of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV).
After graduating from Lourdes High School, Sursely joined the army in 1966. Two years later, he was sent to Vietnam assigned to the Americal Division’s 17th Armored Cavalry.
During a combat mission in January of 1969, Sursely’s life changed forever when he stepped on an enemy landmine during a perimeter check.
“At like 6:15 in the evening, bang. And you know blew me about 20-25 feet in the air, tramatically amputated all three of my limbs just because of the force of the explosion. ” Said Sursely.
“The thing that actually saved my life was it went up in a gigantic ball of flame. It was not shrapnel. It was not a metallic landmine. And that gigantic ball of flame helped cauterize my arteries, keep me from bleeding to death.”
Sursely says 3-4 weeks after the explosion, in a Japanese hospital, is when he fully comprehended the trauma he experienced. He credits sharing experiences and physically training with other amputees as a major help to his recovery.
After returning to the country and recovering from his injuries, Sursely met and married his wife. They have 4 children and 12 grandchildren.
Now Jim spends much of his time sharing his story in hopes of helping others overcome their challenges.
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