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Vet fighting PTSD by climbing Mt. Everest

Posted: 3:42 PM, Mar 29, 2016
Updated: 2016-03-30 01:15:38Z

As American veterans continue to fight the battles of life after war, one wounded veteran hopes to make a statement by making the climb of his life.

It took some time for retired Staff Sgt. Chad Jukes to move forward after a life-changing night nine years ago in Northern Iraq, when the truck he was riding in hit a roadside bomb.

"And the next thing I knew, I was hanging onto the dashboard of our vehicle with my legs hanging out of the truck," Jukes said. His right leg was amputated below the knee shortly after the injury.

Jukes was an avid sport climber before the amputation, which is why forging a new mission took him to new heights.

"Climbing a mountain and serving in the military definitely have a number of similarities." said Juke.

And with the challenges of every peak came the realization of combat's psychological valleys.

"For a very, very long time, I don't even think that I consciously acknowledged that I was living with PTSD," said Jukes, "Because I was doing such a good job of pushing it down."

Jukes is dedicating his next climb to raising money and awareness for veterans living with PTSD. And once again, the soldier is aiming high.

"[I will be] the first disabled veteran, I believe, to climb Mount Everest," he said.

From literally the top of world, Jukes hopes his two-month journey climbing Everest inspires veterans around the world to reach their own personal summit.

"I would like the country to think about what our veterans are going through." said Jukes, "I hope that veterans who are watching this know that it's okay to seek help."

And with each step, Jukes wants every veteran to know making peace with the echoes of war often takes a path to higher ground.

Jukes will start the climb early next month with the non-profit group U.S.X. If the group is successful, it will be the first time an active duty male and female soldier and a combat-wounded military veteran will summit Mount Everest.

For more information on the climb, head to www.usx.vet