American Airlines Pilot Injured in Afghanistan to Meet with Teen Amputees

For the past several years, American Airlines has joined with the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children to send several teenaged amputees on a free ski vacation.

Ski Vacation for Disabled Kids

For nearly a week, the kids get one-on-one instruction in skiing and snowboarding at Colorado’s National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park.

It seems like a great charitable endeavor, and the hope is that the youngsters learn to face challenges on the slopes with “self-empowerment” and perhaps gain “self-transformation” or so it says in the press release.

Wounded American Airlines Pilot to Meet Kids

However, the send-off party may provide the biggest boost for the kids thanks to one special guest.

The festivities will take place Jan. 30 at the American Airlines Terminal C at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where among those in attendance will be American pilot Tom Marquardt. What makes him special is that Marquardt knows what the kids are going through. Besides being a pilot, he is a major in the Air Force Reserve and served in Afghanistan where he was injured. As a result, his leg was amputated below the knee.

Today, after undergoing rehabilitation therapy, he is back in the cockpit. Living life normally. Despite the stuff that’s been thrown his way.

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Published: January 26, 2012