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News | April 16, 2024

“It’s amazing. I’m alive, let alone walking, but I’m still here.” ~ Spc. Joaquin Pina facebook sharing buttontwitter sharing buttonlinkedin sharing buttonpinterest sharing buttonsharethis sharing button


Army Spc. Joaquin Pina, a water treatment specialist at Ft Drum, New York, has quite the story to share. It was a typical fall day in upstate New York, and typical Army training was in full swing until a very atypical thing happened to Pina that changed him forever. "I was shot in both legs with a heavy grenade launcher," said Pina.

The active-duty Soldier was relieved to learn that his duty station also had one of the country's fourteen Soldier Recovery Units (SRUs)! "I had no idea what the SRU was—I couldn't believe how accommodating and nice everything was and that my only job was to get better. You can manage your own path, and they really help you."
Pina needed a lot of help. He admits he was in a serious situation from the accident and recognizes it could have been worse. "It's amazing I'm alive, let alone walking today. But here I am."

After several surgeries and a month in the hospital, Pina is on the road to recovery at the Fort Drum SRU. "I'm getting better! When recovering and trying to return to duty, adaptive sports were a good way to set goals so I could have something besides physical therapy. It can help me heal better."

Pina learned that the path to Return to Duty required effort on his part, and that meant learning to adapt. "I learned I can do stuff differently and how to move in a way that doesn't hurt." He's also learning to adapt through music art therapy but is heavily focused on adaptive sports.

He does powerlifting, cycling, and rowing- "I've been going to the gym every day and working out to help get better. I walked with a walker, then a cane, and now I am alone. I can't jog or run yet, but it is my goal."

He sees his progress through dedication and repetition with adaptive sports. He says never give up if it gets hard.
"I remember the first time I tried rowing. It was very painful on my legs, but I like seeing how far I can go because now I am much better."

Pina is grateful for the many opportunities in adaptive reconditioning at the SRU and hopes to return to duty. For any nay-sayers, Pina simply says, "Seeing is believing."