Triple Amputee Vietnam Veteran Throws Out First Pitch at Braves Game
By: DAV Flight Team
Jim Sursely was only 19 years old when he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1966. He volunteered for duty in Vietnam in 1968 and was assigned to the Americal Division's 17th Armored Cavalry. Sursley's life was forever changed one and a half months before his tour of Vietnam was to end when an enemy land mine took both his legs and left arm.
"It isn't a story of guts and glory. No John Wayne here. I was just going to grab some water before spaghetti night and it happened," Susley stated.
The 22 year old's following year was full of surgeries and rehabilitation. Despite the obvious challenges, both physically and mentally that he faced, Sursley was able to turn his disability into his life's calling where he proudly assists other wounded heroes through his work with DAV (Disabled American Veterans).
Sursley is a life member of DAV Chapter 16 in Orlando and was honored as the DAV Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year for 1993, received the DAV Freedom Award in 2001 and has fought for veterans rights serving as the National Commander from 2004-2005. Through his work with DAV, Sursley has been able to help thousands of veterans, widows and children of veterans receive the benefits they've earned.
"I have been a lot of places, met a lot of people, but today was very moving. I know that I was only representing the men and women our armed forces who bravely sacrificed for our country. They are out there fighting for our right to be here today enjoying America's pastime. All of those men and women gave some… and unfortunately some gave all," said Sursley.
Following today's game Sursley plans to join the DAV Flight Team at MacDill's Tampa Bay Airfest this weekend alongside B-25 "Killer Bee" in order to provide information about DAV programs/benefits and to remind people of the sacrifices veterans make for freedom.
The DAV Flight Team is an aviation outreach program on a nationwide airshow circuit in order to promote the services DAV can provide to injured veterans and their family members.
Disabled American Veterans, representing nearly 1.3 million disabled veterans, is a non-profit organization founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932. It is dedicated to one, single purpose: Fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served.
For more information about Disabled American Veterans go to www.dav.org or follow the DAV Flight Team at www.facebook.com/