Quadruple amputee veteran visits D.C. school - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Quadruple amputee veteran visits D.C. school

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WASHINGTON -

Some of the students at D.C.'s Alice Deal Middle School got a surprise visit from a most unusual military veteran on Thursday.

Marine Sgt. John Peck served in Iraq and was wounded. He recovered, and then served in Afghanistan, where he was very severely wounded: he lost both arms and both legs.

As a classroom packed with sixth graders listened, Peck was brutally honest about waking up after months of sedation to learn that all four of his limbs had been blown off by an improvised explosive device.

"I used some very bad language," admitted Peck. "I told nurses to get out of my room. I did not want anyone around me. I hated everyone. That was probably one of the worst days."

There was absolute silence among the listening students.

Peck's visit to Deal Middle School was an idea hatched by a couple of sixth graders who had made family visits to wounded warriors.

Student Michaela Herdoiza told us, "We went to the Super Bowl event at Walter Reed [National Military Medical Center]. And we got to know some of the soldiers, and we were so inspired by them. And we just loved to hear all of their stories. And we thought all of our classmates would love to hear them as well."

The quadruple amputee told the students one day he simply decided to stop feeling sorry for himself, and, from then on, he became a happy person.

Asked by one of the sixth graders what he looks forward to, Peck thought for a moment, then replied, "I look forward to being married in November." The children gasped, and then broke into applause.

The retired Marine answered numerous questions about how he navigates through the day with no arms and no legs. Peck demonstrated how he controls a prosthetic hook that fits over what remains of his left arm.

Peck told the kids he would not change his life choices. That prompted a comment from one of the sixth graders, who said, "You said you don't really know why [you wouldn't want] to change much' ... I think it's because you inspire a lot of people."

Other students chimed in with sounds of agreement. The blushing retired Marine replied, "Aw, thank you. That means a lot."

John Peck's service to his nation (and perhaps to the world) may not be finished. He has volunteered to be the world's first quadruple limb transplant patient at a hospital in Boston.

Physicians are awaiting a potential donor with the same blood type. Peck says he's trying to convince the medical insurer for retired military, Tricare, to pay for the operation.

Knowing that he will face a very long period of recovery if all four limbs get transplants, Peck is trying to raise money. His website is www.johnpeckfund.org.


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