Rose’s drive and determination are reasons one of his doctors nominated him to receive one of the first of 10 suits being purchased and given away by the Stamford, Conn.-based nonprofit Soldier Socks.
“A big question was, can you find a person who will utilize the Ekso Bionic suit as a full user rather than the exercise bike that sits out and gathers dust in the garage,” said Dr. Ken Lee, who heads the Spinal Cord Injury Unit at the Milwaukee Veterans Hospital.
Rose has been an enthusiastic participant at the clinic, mentoring others and signing up for hand-bicycling, water-skiing and kayaking.
“He is one of these people who is not a couch potato,” Lee said. “This suit is not going to sit around in his living room as a trophy. My only concern is that he’s going to overuse the suit and get into a medical problem, although there haven’t been any medical problems reported by users.”
Rose, 29, is a Tomah native. He earned a biochemistry degree from UW-Eau Claire while serving in the Army Reserve at Fort McCoy for five years. In 2010, he transferred to a unit bound for Afghanistan to sweep roads for hidden bombs.
“His outlook on life is very refreshing,” Lee said. “No matter where he goes people gravitate to him. He’s the class clown, the class nerd and also very intellectual.”
Rose said it wasn’t easy for him to accept his injury. After the blast he spent time in veterans hospitals before he returned to his family’s home.
“He had a lot of depression,” said Rose’s stepfather, Mike Roush. “We had heart-to-heart talks. There were a lot of tears. I told him, ‘Everybody else can pity you, but we’re going to push you.’?”
He was frequently in bed watching television, and he wasn’t working hard on his rehabilitation, Roush said.
The turning point came eight months after the bomb laid him low.<< previous 1 2 3 4 5 next >>