Our Ambassador of the Month couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. As our friends at The Heroes Project ascend Everest – their 7th highest mountain in the world as part of THP Operation 7 Summits – we’d love to introduce you to the Hero would climbed Kilimanjaro, Julian Torres.
In November 2015, Julian Torres summited Mount Kilimanjaro. He is one of the four out of seven veterans to participate in Operation 7 Summits, using SideStix.
Torres served as a USMC Sergeant in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. On July 15, 2010, an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated below him and caused the loss of both legs. His right amputation is above the knee (rAKA) and left amputation is below the knee (lBKA).
Although the path has been difficult at times for Torres, he remains to be one of the most positive and genuine people we know. Here’s what he had to say for our readers.
What does Defy Convention mean to you?
Julian – Ingenuity and creativity.
In my house everything takes longer. It’s not orthodox… I’m a father and husband who helps keeps everything together at home while my wife is a full time student.
As far as convention goes, it’s just doing things differently… One day I was outside and I fell and people were like, “Oh my god! Are you ok??” It’s fine. I just brush myself off and go about my day like anyone else.
It just takes us longer. We adapt.
What motivates you?
Julian – It’s the day to day. Looking at how the odds are stacked against me. I can say to myself, “Look at what I’ve done”. It’s endurance.
It’s also being a contributor. My effort is valuable, you know? Helping my family reach their goals. That’s what motivates me.
And the spirit of adventure! Being outside. Doing something on my feet.
Life motivates me.
What would you say to those new to crutches or prosthesis?
Julian – Self induced pain is the gateway to freedom. Making your body sore. In the moment it’s hard. You question yourself, why am I doing this?
Just because I workout doesn’t mean I’m done for the day.
The more you thrash it the more you can do later.
I say, “It’s ok man. You gotta keep doing this. This is good for you.” This is the ticket. You gotta try. Just do it. Cause the feeling of being free is worth the squeeze.
What are you most passionate about?
Julian – My family. My wife and my two kids. I’m passionate about them.
Everyday is a fight. You need to have your team of people. The right people, they amplify you.
As for the climb I am grateful for two things: one, for the opportunity. And second for the ability but most of all I’m thankful for the privilege to participate in this life.
What it is that I am I going to get up to today? The struggle. The trials. The struggle, THAT excites me!
USMC Sgt. Retired Julian Torres
San Diego, USA