Roberto Cruz Hero Story

Roberto Cruz and family

While on a tower in Tikrit, Iraq, guarding the post, 23-year-old Roberto Cruz was hit by a sniper. “The bullet entered through my left arm, passed through my lung and finally lodged near my spinal cord between T4-5,” Roberto said. “It felt like a rocket propeller had blown off my legs.”

The bullet destroyed a main artery in his left arm and fractured a rib. After eight months deployment, he was left paralyzed from the waist down—for the rest of his life. He was honorably discharged from the Army.
Feeling discouraged after his injury, Roberto was encouraged by representatives from Paralyzed Veterans of America to attend the annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games, held in 2006 in Anchorage, Alaska. But Roberto was not expecting the effect the weeklong event and interaction with other veterans would have on his outlook.

“Before I attended the Wheelchair Games, I felt very frustrated at times. I was down and didn’t know what the future held,” he said. “After the Games, my entire attitude changed because I learned from other athletes that I’m not alone and I have my whole life to live."

“I feel much happier and more confident, and I credit Paralyzed Veterans of America and the National Veterans Wheelchair Games for my new positive attitude,” Roberto said.

Originally from Puerto Rico, Roberto now resides outside of Tampa, Florida.

Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) is the only veterans service organization that represents servicemen and  women who are paralyzed as a result of spinal cord injury or disease.

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    Roberto Cruz Hero Story