LOCAL NEWS

Marine Amputee Carried Up Mountain By Fellow Veteran, Friends

Nov 11, 2019, 10:59 PM | Updated: 11:03 pm
After 9/11, Jonathan Blank joined the Marines and while serving in 2010 in Afghanistan, lost both o...
After 9/11, Jonathan Blank joined the Marines and while serving in 2010 in Afghanistan, lost both of his legs. (Ashley Moser/Twitter)
(Ashley Moser/Twitter)

DRAPER, Utah — The peaks along the Wasatch Range remind Jonathan Blank of the time he spent serving our country in the mountains of Afghanistan.

“Being a reconnaissance marine, always being out and operating in the field it just feels like home,” he said. “You wake up every day and the sights and views just take your breath away.”

After 9/11, Blank joined the United States Marines Corps and while serving in 2010 in Afghanistan, lost both of his legs.

“I stepped on an IED within a couple of days from ceasing combat operations,” he said. “It was on our last mission.”

Fellow U.S. Marine John Nelson rushed to stop the bleeding and saved Blank’s life.

Since the life-altering incident, Blank is trying to live more than ever. Earlier this year, Nelson carried him on his back while the two climbed Mount Timpanogos. Someone snapped a picture of the two and it spread across Facebook.

“It is just really awesome just to know people are getting inspired by it,” Blank said.

They decided to keep pushing and set their sights on Mount Whitney in California, the highest mountain in the continental United States.

“I said we can do this, but we are going to need some help,” Blank said.

Gavin Godfrey, Preston Godfrey, Connor Peterson and Sergeant Jared Johnson joined the pair for the climb. They started at 3:00 a.m. Friday and finished 29 hours later.

“We hiked non-stop like one person would get John, hike him up as far as they could go, we would put him down, switch and then the next person,” Gavin Godfrey said.

It was an experience that pushed them all both physically and mentally.

“Until you actually get out there and do it, you don’t understand how crazy it is to put someone on your back and carry them up a mountain,” Connor Peterson said.

Blank hoped others can take something away from their journey.

“We are hoping that they will go out there and live their lives fuller better like faster stronger and harder etc. just go out there and get after it,” he said.

The team is hoping their next climb will be Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park.

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Marine Amputee Carried Up Mountain By Fellow Veteran, Friends