Veterans Day guest is wounded warriorPublished 12:41am Wednesday, November 6, 2013
What: Veterans Day parade and program
When: Mon., Nov. 11, 9 a.m.
Where: Parade begins at AHS, ends at the Covington County Veterans Memorial; ceremony follows
Lance Gieselmann will be the guest speaker at this year’s Veterans Day Ceremony in Andalusia, set for Monday morning, Nov. 11.
Gieselmann, a former college football lineman, last a leg in 2003 while deployed with the 3rd Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment in Iraq.
In April 2003, six months into his tour of duty, he was assigned to guard a water-pumping station near Balad. While making a routine supply run, Lance’s tank ran over an improvised explosive device (IED). He was ejected from the tank and landed in a canal alongside the road. Gieselmann was the sole survivor of the three-man team.
His injuries were severe, shrapnel had torn through his face, his heart and his torso, resulting in a head injury, a broken vertebrae and his left leg would have to be amputated above the knee. And, as a result of the explosion, Lance was paralyzed from the chest down.
After being stabilized, he was flown to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where he was told he would never walk again.
“I was 23 years old and stubborn and said, ‘We’ll see.’ ”
After two weeks at Walter Reed, Lance was transferred to a Veterans Affairs medical center in Memphis. During his time there he learned how to walk with crutches; then a few months later was fitted for a prosthesis.
At the Memphis VA, Lance met with Cliff Dupree, a senior national service officer with Paralyzed Veterans of America.
“Cliff and several others from PVA would always be in my room; they ‘bombarded’ me with PVA—and I’m lucky that they did. They made sure I was taken care of before I even left the hospital.”
Currently, Lance is focusing on his future.
“My future is endless; I want to go to vocational schools and learn every skill I never did in life, like electrician, plumbing, carpentry, contracting, welding, mechanic, all things I wish I was good at, but stink at.”
Information was taken from Gieselmann’s profile on the Paralyzed Veterans of America web site. www.pva.org.