Veterans Day | Honoring Those Who Serve

Veterans Day Hanger Clinic
November 11, 2021
Hanger Clinic

Veterans Day is an opportunity to pay tribute to all U.S. veterans and give thanks to those who serve our country. We chatted with veteran Hanger Clinic patients Ryan McGuire and Robbie Walters about their time in the service, prosthetic experience, and how to pay tribute on Veterans Day.

Ryan McGuire – United States Air Force

I have been fascinated with flying since I was a child. In 2009, while attending Air Force pilot training, I was in a horrible boating accident that resulted in a below-knee amputation. I worried that my flying days were done. Then I began rehabilitation and found inspiration in a fellow pilot and other amputees using prosthetic technology. From that moment on, I was determined that I would still be a pilot and fly.

Ryan McGuire United States Air Force pilot with prosthesis

Becoming a Pilot

I went on to complete 13 years of active duty. As I traveled for active duty, my trips included visits back to Seattle to fine tune my prosthesis until I was stationed in Seattle again. Over the years, I have had many different types of prostheses–for every day, working out, running, and flying. One includes a skin cover that I wear with shorts versus the titanium look of others. It is amazing how the technology just fits in with my active life. I am now an Air Force Reserve pilot and FedEx First Officer flying on the civilian side. It is hard to express how much I value the relationship I have with Ryan Blanck, CPO, Area Clinic Manager and the staff at Hanger Clinic in Gig Harbor, WA as I continue to pursue my life goals.

I am now an Air Force Reserve pilot and FedEx First Officer flying on the civilian side. It is hard to express how much I value the relationship I have with Ryan and the staff at Hanger Clinic as I continue to pursue my life goals.

Ryan McGuire running with prosthesis

Paying Tribute on Veterans Day

Veterans Day provides an opportunity to think about the sacrifices families make to serve and protect our country. When real time events happen and people are deployed, in addition to worrying about their personal safety, they are leaving behind family and friends. If you know people in this position, take the time to thank them. When real time events are happening, reach out and offer support how you can. If you see someone in uniform or wearing a retiree hat, say thank you for your service.

Robbie Walters – United States Marine Corps

I was a Corporal serving as a Combat Photographer in the United States Marine Corps from 2009-2014. I worked to document what marines do day-to-day in their jobs. When we deployed, I helped provide battle damage assessments, document marines on patrol, and help leaders see what was going on from a ground view. After leaving the Marine Corps, I went on to become an Industrial Designer receiving a Bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University.

Robbie Walters United States Marine Corps

Living with a Below-Knee Prosthesis

I was in a serious motorcycle accident a little over a year ago and became a left leg below-knee amputee. While I was in the hospital, I met with another Hanger Clinic patient who had a below-knee prosthesis and knew right away I wanted every opportunity to walk and get back to my active life. The team at Hanger Clinic was knowledgeable and understood my goals.

For the first 3 months post-amputation, I was limited to crutches and a wheelchair. At 3 months and 12 days post-accident, I was taking my first steps.

Those first steps in my test socket felt like a whole new world opening up for me. I wasn’t going to be held back from anything I wanted to do.

Robbie Walters

My prosthetist Cody Reimers, CPO, MSPO, CSCS at Hanger Clinic in Durham, NC worked with me to customize prosthetic technology to fit my life. I have an everyday prosthesis that I use for walking and going about my day. I have a fitness prosthesis I use when I am active and working out. I can also change out the bottom portion of my fitness prosthesis with a skate blade attachment and get back on the ice with the North Carolina Warriors hockey team.

I feel empowered to live my life and not let anything stand in my way. I am really thankful to the Hanger Clinic team for their continued support and time they take to ensure my prostheses are working with me to meet my goals.

Paying Tribute on Veterans Day

One way to say thank you on Veterans Day is something as simple as displaying an American flag outside of your house. Seeing the American flag proudly flown symbolizes respect, remembrance, and celebration of the United States of America and people who serve.

Thank You for Your Service

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