Freedom Alliance received an application for a an all-terrain Action Trackchair from retired Marine Kelby Price. In it he wrote, “Having one of these track chairs would greatly improve my quality of life.”
The Action Trackchair allows the wheelchair-bound to achieve independence and mobility in outdoor settings. Kelby continued to explain in his request how activities such as hunting and fishing and camping with his kids used to be a regular part of his everyday life.
That was before his accident.
As a Marine assigned to 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion in the Philippines, Kelby was point man during a nighttime training operation with Filipino Force Reconnaissance. In the darkness, the patrol encountered a steep cliff, which Kelby descended first, using a rope to rappel.
The rope was not long enough to reach the ground, and so he climbed back up. At the top, his grip on the rope slipped. Although his comrades formed a human chain to rescue him, he slid past them and fell 60 feet.
The other Recon Marines located him and treated his injuries, thereby saving Kelby’s life; and yet the damage to his spine, along with a fractured skull, broken ribs, and depressed chest, resulted in paralysis from the sternum down.
A corporal, who administered emergency medical treatment, said that Kelby, despite breathing trouble and loss of feeling in his lower body, was talking about how much he loved his job.
Recon Marines live by a creed:
“Exceeding beyond the limitations set down by others shall be my goal. Sacrificing personal comforts and dedicating myself to the completion of the reconnaissance mission shall be my life. Physical fitness, mental attitude, and high ethics—the title of Recon Marine is my honor.”
At a ceremony earlier this month, at the Second Reconnaissance Battalion Command Post at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Sergeant Major Darrell Carver spoke these words to a small assembly of Marines and veterans.
Carver described the dangerous training Recon Marines endure and commended the actions of the men who worked to save their fellow serviceman’s life.
Freedom Alliance president Tom Kilgannon was also there to present an Action Track Chair to Kelby in front of his fellow Recon Marines. This gift was made possible by Freedom Alliance supporters Dick and JoAnne West.
Tom said, “Sergeant Price was chosen because he was a recon Marine in need of help with his rehabilitation. It is our honor to help him because he served and sacrificed…”
Now Kelby is no longer held back by immobility; he can once again enjoy the outdoors with his two daughters. After all he’s been through and accomplished, maintaining the “always faithful” Marine Corps attitude throughout, we think he deserves the freedom the Trackchair will provide.
His colleagues think so too.
Navy Corpsman Anthony J. Shattuck, in an article for Leatherneck.com, said, “Price is a silent professional. He doesn’t complain. No matter what happens, he will ensure the mission gets done. That’s the way he wants it. He cares about his job a lot and won’t back down from anything. The fact that he fell 60 feet and lived says it all.”
Today Kelby carries out his mission by serving as director of the Recon and Sniper Foundation, a nonprofit organization supporting Recon Marines, MARSOC (Marine Corps Special Operations Command), and Scout Snipers.