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Published May 09, 2011, 06:07 PM

Wounded Veteran, GF Native to Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro

Grand Forks native Ben Lunak is proving to other vets that life can return to normal after suffering a serious injury in war. He's on his way to climb one of the tallest mountains in the world.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

Grand Forks native Ben Lunak is proving to other vets that life can return to normal after suffering a serious injury in war. He's on his way to climb one of the tallest mountains in the world.

Lunak's leg had to be amputated below the knee after he was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2006.

Lunak is one of four injured soldiers chosen by the organization Wounded Warriors to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. Its goal is to show other vets who have suffered a traumatic injury that life can be great again.

"They are going to see us doing this big climb. I see that my life is not over, I can still carry on and do whatever I wanted to do and that is basically what it is about," Lunak said. "The biggest obstacle is going to be the mental thing and if I stay strong mentally, the body will follow."

Lunak learned to walk again using a prothstetic leg and is now very active.

The event is called "Believe in Heroes," organized by the Wounded Warrior Project. The climb will start Friday and take five days to reach the summit of just over 19,000 feet.

"We all have our own injuries of war, and we are showing that no matter how you are affected, that you are still able to overcome and conquer whatever you want to do," Lunak said.

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