LOUISVILLE, Ky.--()--Disabled Army veteran Tommy Carroll is attempting to climb Mt. Cotopaxi, a 19,347-foot mountain in Ecuador, and when he reaches the summit, it won’t be the first big challenge he’s overcome.
“I can’t thank KFC enough for this. I hope that we can work together and really make big changes, not only in the disabled world, but in the able-bodied world as well.”
Carroll, 46, is an Army veteran and above-knee amputee whose summit attempt is sponsored by KFC Corporation and the Association of Kentucky Fried Chicken Franchisees (AKFCF). His expedition to the second-highest peak in Ecuador is the culmination of a yearlong journey with Soldiers to Summits, a non-profit program that helps veterans innovate through adversity and step up to lead and serve others.
Carroll, who has lived in Boulder, Colo., for the past eight years, grew up in Pennsylvania. He is a biomedical engineer who designs artificial limbs, including his own prosthetic leg. He is also a rock climber, ski instructor and road biker, as well as a mountaineer.
“Things end up happening and doors keep on opening and you make the choice to go through them or not,” Carroll said. “With every step, I learn something new about me. I challenge myself to reach for the unattainable, so that I can pass on my experiences, hopes and dreams to others with disabilities.”
Carroll is part of a team of 12 injured veterans and active-duty service personnel who will attempt to summit Mt. Cotopaxi. The team is currently on the mountain and their summit attempt is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 10. The Solders to Summits team includes members who have served in the Army, Marines, Navy and National Guard, and they hail from nine different states. Their injuries include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), as well as blindness, missing limbs and joint injuries.
“The AKFCF and KFC family are so proud to support Tommy on this expedition,” said Larue Kohl, president of the AKFCF. “Tommy doesn’t have to climb a mountain to inspire us, because the way he lives his life is inspirational enough. We’re thrilled to be a small part of this amazing journey.”
Having successfully completed a final training climb in October, Carroll is confident that he and his fellow veterans will successfully summit the nearly 20,000-foot-high mountain in Ecuador. But he is equally optimistic about other disabled people achieving their own dreams.
“Whether that’s climbing a mountain or just getting up and going to work, I’m a huge advocate of outdoor activities as rehab,” Carroll said. “I can’t thank KFC enough for this. I hope that we can work together and really make big changes, not only in the disabled world, but in the able-bodied world as well.”
For the latest news on the Soldiers to Summits expedition, visit http://blog.soldierstosummits.org/.
To leave a message of support for Tommy and the other climbers, visit www.facebook.com/kfc.
To make a donation to support Soldiers to Summits, visit https://nobarriers.fundraise.com/onedollar.
To visit Tommy’s web site, go to http://disabilityisachoice.com/.
For more information and photos of Tommy visit kfc.com/soldierstosummits.
About Soldiers to Summits
Soldiers to Summits (S2S) programs permanently impact lives by helping disabled members of all military branches tackle personal challenges. In S2S, mountains serve as both metaphor and training ground for stretching goals, building world-class teams, innovating through adversity and stepping up to lead and serve others. The program integrates with the rehab process and helps soldiers restructure how they approach their past and future. Through the S2S experience, veterans experience camaraderie and develop support systems they can depend on. Soldiers to Summits is a program of No Barriers USA (www.nobarriersusa.org), a nonprofit organization.
KFC Corporation, based in Louisville, Ky., is the world's most popular chicken restaurant chain specializing in Original Recipe®, Extra Crispy™, Kentucky Grilled Chicken® and Crispy Strips® with home-style sides, Hot Wings, and freshly made chicken sandwiches. There are more than 17,000 KFC outlets in more than 115 countries and territories around the world. Each week, more than 13 million people visit a KFC restaurant in the United States. KFC Corporation is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., Louisville, Ky. (NYSE: YUM). For more information, visit www.kfc.com. Follow KFC on Facebook (www.facebook.com/KFC) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/kfc_colonel).