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  • Monday, August 08, 2016

    ‘Thank You for Making Me a Better Person’

    Rick YaroshWounded warrior Rick Yarosh speaks at state convention

    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.)

    Rick Yarosh

    Membershp Chair Gary Schacher with Rick Yarosh and his service dog.

    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.”