Monday, August 08, 2016
‘Thank You for Making Me a Better Person’
Rick Yarosh’s life changed forever when a roadside bomb in Iraq left him battered and engulfed in flames.
He lost a leg and the use of his hands. Badly burned, he would never again look in a mirror and see the face of the man he was. But he had hope, the former Army sergeant told the Annual Department Convention held in Binghamton July 14-16. (Convention photo gallery.)
Membership Chair Gary Schacher introduced Yarosh to convention delegates, pointing out that he had been a guest of honor at Patriot Highlander Challenge, an obstacle-course run/walk in Schoharie County that raises funds for wounded warriors and selected support networks.
Yarosh, a life member of Binghamton Post 80, said he spent six months in the hospital. Two of those months he doesn’t remember.
“When I left the hospital, I didn’t know if people would accept me.” But fellow veterans told him, “We’re with you.”
He put it this way: “I wouldn’t be here today without the American Legion.” Recounting how his doctor forced him to start walking without the help of a walker, he noted: “That’s what the American Legion does. It takes you for a walk when you’re down.”
He added: “I talk a lot about hope. I’m able to because of you… Thank you all for what you’ve done for me to make me a better person.”