DENVER, CO – After suffering a traumatic brain injury and leg paralyzation while serving in Baqubah, Iraq, Joel Hunt has beat the odds by competing as a Paralympian skier in the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, Russia. Hunt was the first to compete in the Paralympics with his brain above injury. He hosted The H-Train Show, a podcast devoted to sharing veterans’ stories. Now he teaches—Hunt volunteers for this podcast to give back to his fellow veterans.
Littleton Co-Before getting involved in the Paralympic Movement, Jonathan Lujan served in the Marine Corps for more than eight and a half years, initially from 1993-97 and again after September 11, 2001, attacks from 2001-2006. During a mission in Iraq in 2003, Lujan ruptured two discs in his back. The surgery to repair the discs in 2005 damaged Lujan’s spinal cord, causing temporary loss of feeling and movement below his waist. Though he can walk, he has permanent nerve damage and paralysis in his lower legs that restrict his movement and have left him with no feeling below his knees.
Lujan turned to ski racing in 2008 when fellow wounded veteran Nick Orchowiski recommended the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic (NDVWSC) based in Snowmass Village, Colo. Lujan progressed quickly, joining the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club in the spring of 2011 as part of the U.S. Paralympic Developmental Program. By July 2012, he had made the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing National B Team roster.
Lujan served as the flag bearer for Team USA at the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. He also serves as a role model for future Paralympians, children with disabilities, and injured servicemen and women as a Paralympic Ambassador. In addition, he remains a mentor for veterans currently training at the NDVWSC.
Lujan is a Littleton, Colo., native and a Chatfield Senior High School graduate, where he was on the football, wrestling, and track teams. Though he did not ski competitively until after his injury, Lujan has been an avid skier since childhood and has spent many of his winters on the mountain in Winter Park, Colo.
H & Volcano are trying to create a media library access for all Veterans so they to can rehabilitate as it did for us, Mon and Fridays; it is like The Veterans View here in Denver
Train of Life
By Jean d’Ormesson
At birth, we boarded the train of life and met our parents,
and we believed they would always travel by our side.
However, at some stations, our parents would step down from the train,
leaving us on life’s journey alone.
As time goes by, some significant people will board the train:
Siblings, other children, friends, and even the love of our life.
Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum.
Others will go so unnoticed that we won’t realize they have vacated their seats!
This train ride has been a mixture of joy, sorrow, fantasy,
expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells.
A successful journey consists of having a good relationship with all passengers,
requiring that we give the best of ourselves.
The mystery that prevails is that we do not know at
which station we will step down.
Thus, we must try to travel along the track of life in the best possible way –
loving, forgiving, giving, and sharing.
When the time comes for us to step down and leave our seats empty –
we should leave behind beautiful memories for
those who continue to travel on the train of life. Remember to thank our Creator
for giving us the energy to participate in this journey.
I close by thanking you for
being one of the passengers on my train!