Washington, D.C. – DAV (Disabled American Veterans) has named Bobby Body, a combat-injured, single-amputee veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, as its 2016 Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year.
Body, an Army Airborne infantryman, was injured in February 2006 by an improvised explosive device in Iraq. The explosion severely injured his left side and lead to his evacuation back to the states, where he would later be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). After being medically retired from the Army in 2009, and undergoing numerous surgeries, Body’s left leg was ultimately amputated above the knee in 2013.
While recovering from his amputation at the Ann Arbor Veterans Healthcare System’s amputee rehabilitation clinic, Body saw how long and arduous recovery could be, often lasting months. It was a timeline he did not want to endure. Through his positive attitude and can-do spirit, Body walked out of the clinic in less than seven weeks. Doctors and therapists at the Ann Arbor VA took notice of Body’s unique mental and physical abilities during his recovery and recruited him to become a counselor to other veterans who either had PTSD or recent amputations.
Through his own recovery, Body propelled himself into the world of powerlifting to help him deal with the psychological and physiological effects that often spiral individuals to hit rock bottom. Just months after becoming involved in the sport, Body won a gold medal in his weight class in his first appearance at the U.S. Nationals for the American Powerlifting Federation, an affiliate of the World Powerlifting Congress (WPC). He also placed first in his age group at the 2015 WPC World Championships in Portugal, and followed that up by bringing home two more gold medals – one in his age division and another in an open-age division – and breaking a national record in his age group by using his 5-foot-8-inch, 178-pound frame to lift 424.39 pounds.
Body will be presented the award by DAV National Commander Moses A. McIntosh Jr. at the organization’s 95th National Convention at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, July 31.
“Bobby Body is a shining example of everything that is good about our nation and its veterans,” said McIntosh. “The compassion he shows for other veterans and his work to help them find success is truly the hallmark of this award, and we’re very proud of what he’s doing for this community.”
Body is a certified peer support specialist by the state of Michigan and conducts group PTSD and amputee counseling in his local community and throughout the state. He is currently pursuing his master’s degree in social work at Michigan State University and hopes to become a DAV service officer.
“I served my country and came home and people helped me, so therefore I need to help other people,” said Body. “As long as I’m able to get out there and talk to veterans to help them get where they need to be, I’ll do anything if I can just help one person.”
Body and his wife Terri currently live in Saint Johns, Mich., with their four children.