OGDEN, Ut. (WFLA/CNN Newsource) – Two Marine Corps veterans in Utah, who served in Afghanistan together, still love to go hiking, even though one lost his legs in a combat injury.
It takes a special kind of brotherhood to carry 135 pounds of weight on your shoulders up 14.3 miles of steep terrain, but John Nelson wasn’t going to let that stop him.
“A few days ago, I drove by, and I was like, ‘You know what? I think I’m going to take John to the top of that by myself,’” Nelson said.
Jonathon Blank and Nelson served in the special operations unit of the Marine Corps together in Afghanistan. Nelson remembers the moment ten years ago stepping away from where Blank had been standing when an explosive device went off. Blank lost both legs.
“We shared a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to get to where we were, and it was all worth it,” Blank said.
Hikers Nate Laird and Phil Casper were coming down the trail when they saw Nelson carrying Blank, and both said the sight left them in awe.
“If that’s what they’re doing for recreation, imagine those guys on the battlefield,” Casper said.
Blanks hopes this inspires anyone who thinks they can’t accomplish something.
“Not only have I lived through this, but we’re also special operations guys we can do anything, we can maybe instill that mindset into other people,” Blank said.
According to KTSU, Nelson and Blank plan to hike Mt. Whitney next, the tallest mountain in California at more than 14,500 feet.