ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Christopher Aguilera’s combat rescue helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan nearly four years ago.
“I had a broken ankle, broken femur, broken hip, broke my back in five places, four broken ribs, sternum, collarbone, jaw, had a brain injury, punctured lung, punctured hamstring, and my legs were on fire,” Aguilera told KMOX.
The Air Force master sergeant from Las Vegas is one of six wounded warriors who traveled to St. Louis over the weekend to pick up a Segway.
The Missouri-based “Segs 4 Vets” program has provided them to more than 1200 injured military members like Chris Aguilera since 2005.
Jerry Kerr is the president and founder, “Because of our volunteers, we are able to offer something to our severely-injured disabled veterans at about a fourth of the cost of what the federal government could get.”
Kerr says he’s heard from lots of veterans who’ve increased their mobility and quality of life through use of their Segways, but he also enjoys hearing stories from their loved ones, “The bigger, better stories are the family members who come back to us and say thanks for giving them their Dad back or their Mom back.”
U.S. Army soldier Cory Garmon of Alabama stepped on a roadside bomb in July 2012 and lost both legs below the knee. He says he got the idea to apply for a Segway from injured veterans he met at Walter Reed Hospital, “They really enjoy them, especially in running after their kids. That’s why I want one.”
Chris Aguilera also has thoughts of how he’ll use his, “I got tired of planning a whole day based on how much endurance I may have, or the pain level. Having a Segway is going to enable me to be on my feet all day and get more done.”
“Segs 4 Vets” is privately-funded and volunteer-staffed.
Jerry Kerr says the program is committed to increasing its number of presentations in St. Louis each year.