Disabled veterans are taking on a tremendous challenge

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More than a dozen disabled veterans are taking on a tremendous challenge in Yosemite National Park. (KFSN)

More than a dozen disabled veterans are taking on a tremendous challenge in Yosemite National Park.

These are the faces of wounded warriors. Some have scars are more visible than others, but all sacrificed more than most of us can imagine.

"I lost my left leg above the knee," said Marine Lance Cpl. Cody Elliott. "I had a really bad compound fracture and muscle loss throughout my right leg, broken jaw and a huge facial laceration on the side of my face, I lost my index finger, go figure, my trigger finger."

Cody Ellliot suffered those injuries while serving in Afghanistan. He also lost several friends whose memories motivate him to make the most of every day. Now he's one of 15 disabled veterans and six park service veterans taking on a new mission together.

They're gearing up to climb three of Yosemite's great granite walls -- El Capitan, Ranger Rock, and the Royal Arches. Half Dome had to be cut from the list because of the fire burning nearby. Each group is set to reach its own summit on September 11th.

Marine Lance Cpl. Cody Elliott said, "It's nice to be able to come out here and be able to put my life in someone else's hands and know for a fact I can trust them and they can trust me with their life in my hands as well, so we kind of share that common ground already, and to be climbing it's like game on."

The climb is organized by Paradox Sports, which helps people with disabilities conquer a variety of outdoor activities. Army Major D.J. Skelton co-founded the non-profit after being injured during a firefight in Iraq.

Skelton said, "I lost my left eye, my upper jaw and palate, a lot extensive facial damage."

Skelton also lost the use of his left hand. But he found new strength in surviving that trauma, much like our nation did after the 9-11 attacks.

"So we decided to have this on September 11th as celebration, a celebration of the life that we have, the life, the limbs, the things that we have sacrificed that have brought us together as a community," said Skelton.

This is the second straight year for the climbing event here, and organizers say they absolutely plan to do it again next year.




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