Iraq Veteran Delivers Inspirational Message To JCC Audience
"I'm burned on 60 percent of my body, I have a right leg amputation below the knee, I severed an artery," Sgt. Rick Yarosh said.
Those are just a few of the injuries Yarosh suffered when the tank he was riding in struck an improvised explosive device in Iraq.
Yarosh thought he was going to die in the desert that day in 2005.
But after countless surgeries, rehabilitation, and help from his close buddy and helper dog Amos, Yarosh survived.
Despite all he's been through, Yarosh says he's taken the negatives -- all of them -- and turned them into positives.
"I wouldn't be doing any of this stuff if this didn't happen to me," he said.
"With all the things I deal with, I can wake up every morning -- my buddy who was with me that day passed away seven days later -- so I can wake up and I can live for him."
That was the message he told to a captivated audience at Jefferson Community College Wednesday night.
"We have a lot of people who are not living in high standards, but in order to get through that you have to have high spirits and you have to believe in yourself," said Dwight Doan, JCC's veterans service coordinator.
"I think that's what Rick -- he encompasses that," Doan said.
Yarosh started telling his story about five years ago -- as soon as he was healthy enough,.
"I did it and I realized that the group I spoke to was actually listening to what I had to say."
And they haven't stopped listening.
Monday, December 22, 2014, Watertown, NY