I read an incredible story today of a Vietnam Vet who overcame huge odds to make a difference in life.
Bob Wieland was a young baseball player from Wisconsin, negotiating a contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, when he was called to serve in Vietnam. As a medic, Wieland perfomed his duties with care, while longing to be back on the baseball fields in his home state.
In June, 1969, Wieland’s life was changed forever when he stepped on a booby trap while trying to help a friend. Explosions rang out around him as the 82 mm buried mortar – a round designed to destroy tanks – blew off his legs. Wieland was pronounced DOA (dead on arrival) at the hospital.
But Wieland’s life was far from over. A nurse found movement in the body bag he had been placed in and resuscitated him to life. He embarked upon a recovery process marked by faith, determination and courage.
While in the hospital, Wieland began lifting weights. He couldn’t even lift five pounds to start but persisted in training everyday and began getting stronger. His athletic persona took over and he eventually broke the world record in bench press in his weight division on four occasions – lifting 507 pounds. However, he was disqualified for not wearing shoes and finally banned from the sport!
Not easily discouraged, Wieland opted for another sport and began training for marathons. He has completed the New York, Los Angeles, and Marine Corp Marathons on his HANDS! Wrapped in rubber pads, his hands perform as his feet.
From there, he went on to complete the grueling Ironman Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii – the only double amputee to ever complete it without a wheelchair.
But he claims the most exciting marathon he completed was a walk across America! He endured three years, eight months and six days of walking on his hands as he traveled from Los Angeles to the Vietnam Memorial to raise money for Veterans, the poor and the hungry.
Wieland’s inspiring motto can be applied to any endeavor, including stepparenting:
“It’s always too early to quit.”
He credits his success to his faith and his foundational belief, “Nothing is impossible with God.” Known as “Mr. Inspiration” for good reason, he travels the world telling his story to live life “AOA (alive on arrival)” instead of remaining DOA.
Quitting was not an option for Bob Wieland. It shouldn’t be an option for us either.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phillippians 4:13