BOISE, Idaho — Mike Duke is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who lost his left arm during his service because of a flesh-eating bacteria.
"I remember it like it was yesterday, I couldn’t breathe, my body was going into septic shock so they took me to the Balboa Naval Hospital and actually did a death imminent on me."
That was back in the early 2000s, but Duke credits a strong support system, Brazilian Jujitsu and the Challenged Athletes Foundation for helping him stay active.
Duke can only be described as a success story who never let losing his arm ever slow him down.
“I wound up doing the CAF Triathlon which is a mile swim, a 48-mile bike ride and a ten-mile run."
But now this veteran is in his mid-forties and his body has been through a lot, so the Challenged Athletes Foundation presented Duke with a brand new mountain bike.
"It’s a Scott, it’s amazing with dual shocks," said Duke. "They rigged everything on my right side with the breaks, gear shifter and the bike has a dropper on the seat, it’s just a lot of fun.”
In February during a Mission 43 speaking engagement at the Warhawk Air Museum in Nampa, the Challenged Athletes Foundation presented bikes to Duke and a former police officer who had his leg amputated.
The Challenged Athletes Foundation provided $12,000 worth of grants for this adaptive sports equipment.
“Which is amazing, CAF paid for everything so I’m just super fortunate," said Duke.
Duke works that VA as the veteran readiness and employment officer and he helps other veterans, we went for a ride near the VA and Duke is loving his bike so far, but he says it's the community of riders and the people from CAF Idaho that have made the biggest difference.
"It’s more than let’s just get you on something," said Duke. "It’s connecting you with a community and the knowledge so you can have fun with it and be proficient with it.”
On Saturday, the Challenged Athletes Foundation will present two five-year-olds and a seven-year-old with new GRIT wheelchairs.