Jim recalls fire and noise erupting at his feet. But he doesn’t remember being thrown
into the air by the explosion of a Viet Cong land mine. In fact, he didn’t learn
the full extent of his sacrifice for America until he landed in an Army hospital
The explosion tore away both of Jim Sursely’s legs and his left arm. It could have
been worse. If Jim’s clothing had not caught fire, cauterizing his gaping wounds,
the young Army Staff Sergeant might have died. That’s why he says, “It’s an absolute
miracle that I’m still around.”
Jim survived some of the most severe battle wounds ever, and the demons of fear,
depression and despair came knocking on his door early on. But he remembers the
tough love he got from other disabled veterans. As he built a successful real estate
career, he always made time to give other disabled veterans the same kind of help
that once meant so much to him.
That involvement led to Jim’s election to a one-year term as National Commander
of the Disabled American Veterans. He continues to play an active role in the DAV
nationally, in the state of Florida, and in his local DAV Chapter.