Birchwood was another landing spot Saturday for American patriot Dana Bowman, a double amputee determined to inspire all to overcome their setbacks.
With artificial legs below the knee, Bowman jumped out of a helicopter at 5,000 feet and landed squarely on target in a field near Trinity Lutheran Church in Birchwood with a 200-foot flag trailing behind him.
After landing, he said, "I'm so proud to be an American. I'm so proud to be here and jump for this pastor and his church and bring the community together."
More than 100 people gathered to witness the jump, take hold of the massive flag and sing "God Bless the USA."
They raised $236 for Bowman's charity, HALO for Freedom Warrior Foundation, by buying playing cards and setting them in the landing area. Where Bowman landed was the winning card, and that person won half the pot.
Bowman lost his legs in a parachuting accident in 1994 while a member of the U.S. Army's elite parachute team, the Golden Knights. During a training exercise, he collided with teammate Sgt. Jose Aguillon in mid-air at high speed. Aguillon was killed instantly, and Bowman's legs were severed at the knees. Bowman's
parachute opened on impact, and he was rushed to a hospital, where doctors were able to stop his bleeding.
Nine months later, Bowman became the first double amputee to re-enlist in the United States Army. After reenlistment, he became the U.S. Parachute Team's lead speaker and recruiting commander.
He strives to show physically challenged people can still work and excel in today's society and military. Bowman said he emphasizes that the words amputee and uselessness are not synonymous.
Bowman has given more than 400 speeches in the last few years and has been featured in numerous major magazines and television programs.
The Rusk Riders ATV Club and Trinity Lutheran organized Bowman's appearance.
HALO for Freedom Warrior Foundation is dedicated to helping wounded veterans. For more information, visit haloforfreedom.org.