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Erick Castro Skiing at Winter Sports ClinicWounded service members returning from Iraq face a long road to recovery. Thanks to modern protective body armor many who would have died from their combat wounds now survive, but body armor doesn’t protect limbs. Modern weaponry tears away arms and legs.

The majority of amputees from the Iraq war and war on terror in Afghanistan are treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Always high in spirit, these young soldiers and Marines aggressively tackle their rehabilitation to restore their lives to normal, and the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust is there to help them. The Charitable Service Trust supports a wide-range of heartwarming programs that honor our nation’s veterans by providing the care and services they need to help build productive lives.

Army Sgt. Erick Castro was riding with five other soldiers in an armored personnel carrier near Fallujah, Iraq, when it was struck by a light armor weapon fired by an enemy insurgent. Luckily, the device failed to explode when it hit the vehicle but the rocket-propelled device smashed into the interior. Castro and two other soldiers lost their legs to the sheer impact of the weapon, and others in the vehicle suffered burns and minor injuries caused by flying bone fragments.

“I remember lying on the floor and not being able to stand up,” said Castro. I pulled up my leg and I saw the two other guys holding their legs. I was hit in the femur. I didn’t realize I was hurt that bad and then I started going into shock because of blood loss.” The young combat engineer’s leg was amputated at the hip.

When Castro was out of surgery, doctors and therapists started preparing him for a revolutionary prosthetic device that would replace his lost limb. Thus he started a journey through medical centers in Germany and Washington, D.C., to regain lost mobility using a device that didn’t exist before the computer age.

Thanks to support provided by the Trust, severely injured Iraq War veterans like Sgt. Castro can participate in a specialized program providing athletic rehabilitation and instruction in the use of adaptive equipment. They also learn from Paralympic coaches how to run wearing new prosthetic devices.

The DAV Charitable Service Trust provides essential therapeutic and rehabilitative programs supporting our nation’s disabled veterans. We are grateful for the generosity of those who annually contribute to the DAV Charitable Service Trust, which allows us to support these valuable and important programs that assist the men and women who have sacrificed for our nation.

All of our young veterans are going to be better, productive citizens and do more than they ever dreamed. These hard driving, motivated young adults want to be able to compete in the able-bodied world without any preconceived impediments. They want to keep giving for their country, and the DAV Charitable Service Trust has helped them to do that.

Funds to support the Charitable Service Trust result from the generosity of donors through workplace campaigns like the Combined Federal Campaign, United Way, and other workplace giving programs across the country.
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