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3 war vets, 1 good leg: Amputees climb Kilimanjaro

Three American veterans from three different wars had only one good leg among them. But that didn't stop them from climbing Africa's highest mountain.

The three soldiers — veterans of Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam — scrambled, clawed and plodded to the top of Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro, hiking on one human leg and five prosthetics made of titanium and carbon fiber.

They skidded. They fell. They removed their legs to adjust their shoes. And after six days of climbing they stood at 19,340 feet.

"The message we're trying to send back to the USA is: No matter what disability you have, you can be active," said Kirk Bauer, the executive director of Disabled Sports USA and a 62-year-old Vietnam veteran who lost a leg in 1969. Bauer, of Ellicott City, Md., was one of the triumphant climbers.

The youngest of the veterans, former Army Sgt. Neil Duncan, 26, a Minnesotan now in college in Denver, lost both legs to a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in 2005. Duncan, who retired from the Army in 2007, ran with former President George W. Bush that same year. He hopes to run the Army Ten-Miler in Washington, D.C. in October.

The third climber, former Army Sgt. Dan Nevins, 37, a native of California now living in Jacksonville, lost both legs in Iraq. Nevins developed a pressure boil on one of his leg's stumps during the climb. After reaching the summit and descending to 15,000 feet, he was evacuated on a wheeled stretcher.

The trio made their six-day ascent as part of the Warfighter Sports Challenge, a series of seven extreme events for permanently disabled veterans.

Happy marriage, shared faith linked

African-American couples are more likely than other groups to share core religious beliefs and pray together in the home, according to a study released Tuesday in the August issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family. In what was described as the first major look at relationship quality and religion across racial and ethnic lines, researchers reported a link between relationship satisfaction and religious factors for whites, Hispanics and African-Americans. Study co-author W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project based at the University of Virginia, said couples that pray together stay together, and "African-American couples are more likely to have a shared spiritual identity." The study found that 40 percent of blacks in marriages and live-in relationships attended religious services regularly with their partners, compared with 29 percent of non-Hispanic whites and 29 percent of Hispanics.

Lucy's kin carved up a meaty meal

Two ancient animal bones from Ethiopia show signs of butchering by human ancestors, moving back the earliest evidence for the use of stone tools by about 800,000 years, researchers say. The bones appear to have been cut and smashed 3.4 million years ago, the first evidence of stone tool use by Australopithecus afarensis, the species best known for the fossil dubbed "Lucy." Zeresenay Alemseged, an Ethiopian paleoanthropologist at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, reports the finding with colleagues in today's issue of the journal Nature. Some experts were unconvinced. The markings on the bones look like the work of crocodiles, said Tim White of the University of California at Berkeley.

3 war vets, 1 good leg, a lot of will

3 war vets, 1 good leg: Amputees climb Kilimanjaro 08/11/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 10:32pm]
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