Inspiration Behind The Wheel

Saturday, July 30, 2011 - 8:02am

Quadriplegic vet learns to drive again.

Some drivers don't need a GPS to help them get where they're going.

For Todd Nicely, all roads lead to the same place.

"It's just one step closer to being back to normal again," Nicely says.

The 27-year-old Marine Corporal is re-learning how to drive.

"He's just here to get the job done, " says Occupational Therapist Pat Niewoehner.

Considering what he's been through, it's clear that few have ever been able to make a u-turn like this.

It was just last year while leading a patrol in Afghanistan that Nicely was badly wounded by an improvised explosive device.

He arrived at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, ready to face every challenge with the same courage he faced the enemy.

"The biggest challenge is not having hands," he says. "It's a lot harder than it looks."

Nicely mastered the use of prosthetic arms and legs becoming an inspiration to other wounded warriors returning from the battlefield.

"I go over to Bethesda Naval hospital when the guys come home and show them the hospital bed is not the last place you're going to be," he says.

Now after months on the long road to recovery, Nicely is hoping to leave it all in his rear view mirror.

Using specialized driving equipment, Corporal Nicely is able to safely maneuver an electronic gas and brake system.

It's complicated machinery just to get back to life's simple journeys.

"Just to the grocery store would be nice, " he says. "Just to get out and go somewhere by myself."

After just a few weeks of training, Cpl. Nicely was ready for his road test at the DMV, and like every other test since suffering the injuries, he passed with flying colors.

The plan now is to shift into high gear and head towards the future.

"Just to live life to the fullest and to do it together," says his wife, Crystal.

One brave Marine's hard fight for freedom.

First for his country, now for his own.

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