In an extraordinary gesture of giving back, a wounded army veteran and cancer survivor has been plowing snow for his Bellevue, Nebraska neighbors using a specially rigged wheelchair.
“The community here ... has supported me immensely through some of my struggles and my tough times with having my leg amputated, and also with my fight with brain cancer,” Anderson told WOWT-TV. “This is my way of giving back.”
Anderson, a motorcycle mechanic, said he first got the idea to put a snow blade on his off-road wheelchair last year. Since then, he’s been using it after “every snowfall” to help his community.
“I don't want kids or parents to slip or have to go traipsing through the snow and possibly hurt themselves,” Anderson told WOWT-TV.
Anderson lost his leg in 2014 due to complications from a leg injury he sustained during his 2003-2004 deployment in Iraq.
In a video by the Veterans United Foundation, the vet explains how he was shot in the knee during a combat operation. “That’s when my heart stopped the first time, and they actually had to do CPR on me,” Anderson says in the 2014 clip. “I didn’t know if I was going to die that day or not … I just kept doing what I was trained to do.”
Despite his brush with death, Anderson returned to his unit to continue his deployment. He ended up completing more than 380 combat missions before being medically retired.
“If that’s not a guy who’s soldiering on, I don’t know who is,” Bruce Chubick, a Veterans United officer, said in the video.
In the past three years, Anderson has also battled brain cancer twice. According to a GoFundMe page set up to help cover Anderson's medical expenses, his cancer is once again in remission.
Anderson credits his community for giving him much support during these difficult years. Plowing snow, he said, is his small way of saying thanks.
“It's very gratifying [when people recognize what you're doing],” Anderson said of his good deed, news of which has been going viral this week. “But even if I didn't get any response from anybody or nobody said thank you ... I'd still do it.”
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