2016 Warrior, John Bolanos
Sgt. Bolanos served in the military for 8 years. His combat deployments included: Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo and Iraq. His last deployment to Iraq in 2005 was the most detrimental to him physically. A combination of carrying 100+ lbs on his body on a daily basis and surviving multiple IED blasts. It was not just one event that led to him being disabled, but rather his time as a whole in Iraq. The back problems are physically debilitating for him. He cannot lift or run. He can walk, but not for very long, he cannot stand for lengths of time and has to use a cane much of the time.
Of course, regular exercise is highly recommended, but if he attempts to do traditional exercises it’s too much and he is in severe pain for several days after. He lives in constant pain with no hope of getting better. Swimming & Hydro-therapy is the #1 recommendation due to the nature of his injuries and his limitations. It is the perfect therapy for not only for physical needs, but also for the psychological and emotional. Swimming gives the added benefit of the ability to relax, focus and spend quality time with his family. Sgt. Bolanos has a lovely wife and two small children 4 and 6 years old. He can not play with them for very long. He was extreme- ly physically active and misses being so. He wants to be able to engage with his children in a fun and pain free way. To improve his physical condition and be able to exercise again and regain some of the strength he used to have.
Sgt. Bolano has no missing limbs, no visible scars, if you saw him on the street, you might think him a “normal” guy, but the internal pain he goes through daily is real and debilitating. He is unable to work now. He has given up a lot for his country. He served his country well, and earned the respect of so many. He is well decorated, earning several awards and medals throughout his career.