Amputee Soldiers Rally and Summit Mt. Kilimanjaro


When the group finally reached the summit and were greeted with a sign that read "Welcome to Uhuru Peak," Martin said he was hit with a wave of emotion.

"When I saw the sign at the summit the first thing I did was cry. I was there. You can't go any higher," he said. "Sometimes you didn't even have to say anything at all. Just a little fist-bump."

By the end of the trip, Martin had dislocated the same shoulder twice due to falls, and the skin touching his prosthetics had completely rubbed off, he said. But he said those weren't reasons to quit.

"I can't think of anything in my life that hurt so bad," he said. "But the climb is not complete until I go down. You are dealing with a group of people who have gone through a lot. And I didn't want to quit."

The group safely returned to their homes in Texas and Arizona on Saturday.

Makerney is currently in the Oklahoma Army Guard and learning how to be a pilot. After she graduates from college, she said he hopes to fly for emergency response teams for Homeland Security.

"I wouldn't take my leg back for anything," she said. "It's an amazing feeling to be at the lowest of lows, have everything taken from you and then take it all back," Makerney said.

"I want people to know that no matter what happens ... you're not alone. And people are really ready to fight for you," Makerney said of her fellow veterans. The climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro "was my fight for them. I wanted to show them that anything is possible."

Martin is already looking forward to the next marathon, which he will run alongside his father and son.

"It sucks being an amputee, don't get me wrong. It's horrible," he said. "But at the same time, I'm still here. I'm still me."

A videographer who traveled with the group, Bevan Bell, will soon be releasing a documentary on the trip.

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