Greg M. Carden, the son of a retired Army officer, has undergone nearly 30 orthopaedic surgeries at military hospitals to treat cancerous tumors and other medical problems. He had an above-knee amputation during the first Gulf War and underwent physical therapy alongside wounded soldiers who had also lost limbs. “My fellow amputees were previously at peak physical shape, all athletic and engaged in physical activities,” he says. Carden, by contrast, had been dealing with pain and undergoing rehabilitation for more than a decade at that point. “I found the vets' experiences to be quite awe inspiring. These were people who signed up for the military, knowing they could be injured - some even signed up after the war had begun, so they knew full well what they were getting into. My medical situation just happened. There was not anything I could do about it. These vets might have avoided injury, but instead chose to serve their country in the face of such risk. As far as I was concerned, they were heroes, though every single vet I met was as humble as could be, and tried to play down that sort of admiration,” Carden says.