American300 NEVER QUIT SERIES... Tom Whittaker 'The Promise'

Malmstrom Air Force Base, Great Falls MT - "Please don't let them take my legs." This was Tom Whittaker's only thought as he struggled to remain conscious. It was the night after Thanksgiving, and Whittaker, a brash young mountaineer who was fast making a name for himself in the climbing world, was pinned in the front seat of his vehicle on a remote road in Idaho. An out-of-control drunk driver had just smashed head-on into his Volkswagon bus, crushing his legs.
When he awoke from emergency surgery, he discovered that his right foot had been amputated and that his kneecap had been removed.
Lying in his hospital bed, he thought, "My body has always defined me, and now all I can do is sit in its wrecked remains, scared, hopeless, and alone." Just thirty-one years old, Whittaker had to completely reinvent himself. He overcame pain, anger and thoughts of suicide to embark on a new life of success and adventure.
His journey back began when he had a realization: you don't need your legs to go kayaking. Soon he was testing himself-and a series of artificial feet--on rock climbs, and in time he was back at the dangerous game of high-altitude mountaineering. Tom Whittaker never let his dream die. And on May 27, 1998, he made history by becoming the first disabled person to climb to the summit of Mount Everest, the world's tallest mountain.
The American300 Never Quit Series returned to Malmstrom Air Force Base today sharing this amazing story of accomplishment, resiliency and victory with Airmen. From base theater to kitchens, dormitories to recreation centers, Whittaker inspired individuals to dream big, make a promise to themselves to accomplish great things... look out for
one another along the way... Ingredients that were all key to his own personal success.
The American300 NEVER QUIT SERIES continues on this Air Force Global Strike Command Base tomorrow before heading south to Cheyenne, WY and F.E. Warren Air Force Base.

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American300 is a 501c3 nonprofit focused on promoting resiliency within our troops, their families and the communities in which they live and operate in. No federal endorsement of 'sponsor' is implied.

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