(WHTM) — May is both Military Appreciation Month and Mental Health Awareness Month, and Pennsylvania veterans are turning to both.
abc27 first spoke with Pennsylvania veteran Kevin Bittenbender lLast year he handcycled at the Pittsburgh Marathonnow he has a new goal – to implement it.
“When I rode a handcycle last year, I had been amputated less than 90 days ago.
One step at a time; Bittenbender lost his legs to burn pits after 34 years of military service.
“This Sunday marks exactly 444 days since surgery,” Bittenbender said.
abc27 caught up with Bittenbender before that surgery when he handcycled the Pittsburgh Marathon on a cycle given to him by Hope for the Warriors after developing severe PTSD in almost a two-year deployment.
“He’s had his service member ups and downs and more. At the time he was like, ‘What’s next for me?
While abroad, Bittenbender lost three dear friends. His Major Carlyle he is Master Sergeant Scott Ball and Scranton Sergeant Jean he is Argonish. His major left him with the question, “What is your legacy?”
“The Major is with me every day, and so are Jan and Scott,” said Bittenbender.
Their names are tattooed on the inside of his arm and prosthetic leg, and he will run the Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday, May 7.
“I hope I live a life worthy of their sacrifice, and the legacy that great fear left behind and instilled in me,” Bittenbender said.
They’re there mentally, but some special people physically join him. And the surgeon who performed his amputation will run the entire marathon with him.
https://www.wtaj.com/news/regional-news/pennsylvania-amputee-veteran-to-run-in-marathon-for-fallen-friends/ Pennsylvania Amputee Veteran Runs Marathon for Lost Friend