WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — An explosion in Iraq paralyzed a soldier, but it was not enough to wound the Wilmington native’s spirit. Lt. Col. Danny Dudek is competing right now in the Warrior Games in Colorado.
Think the Olympics with a twist. At Warrior Games, the athletes are injured service members, and the setting in Colorado Springs, CO, is far from Iraq, where Lt. Col. Dudek was nearly killed.
“Everything below my knees is paralyzed, so that was a long recovery,” Dudek told WWAY during an interview from Colorado. “Of course my wife was there for me.”
Now 50 other Wounded Warriors cheer him on, too. Even First Lady Michelle Obama shows her support.
A variety of competitions will take place, but Lt. Col. Dudek will join men like in wheelchair races and swimming.
“I could have never imagined how incredibly my life would change after I got wounded,” he said.
Though physical strength to compete in these activities comes from training, the important emotional push comes from his wife Megan.
“She is my inspiration to try to stay positive, keep improving myself and make sure I’m earning the ability to stay her husband and show her that I can still do really good things and enjoy life,” Lt. Col. Dudek said.
Dudek also continues to enjoy serving his country as a soldier in the United States Army.
His parents still live here in Wilmington.
The 2012 Warrior Games wrap up Saturday.