School of Mines engineers help improve lives of disabled veterans

GOLDEN, Colo. -- Tyler Wilson fought for freedom in the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade.

"I was wounded in Afghanistan in May 2005 and I was wounded in a firefight there in the Arghandab River Valley," he said.

Now, Wilson fights for his freedom -- freedom of movement that is. He was paralyzed from the waist down.

Jon Monett, also a veteran, understands Wilson’s fight. That’s why he founded the nonprofit Quality of Life Plus.

"And I suggested creating a lab for supporting the wounded, and that is how it started. I gave them the money to do it and we went from there," Monett said.

Who better equipped to help with Quality of Life Plus than the Colorado School of Mines.

It just received a $50,000 grant to specifically help veterans to get back in the game.

“Our students will do the design work. They will work on some prototypes, they will work with the Challenger to see if it meets the need and refine it. And then our end goal is to be able to provide them with a working solution," Colorado School of Mines associate professor Joel Bach said.

In Wilson‘s case, he needs a way to bring his mono-ski to the mountain without any help.

“Coming up with ways to get over that barrier, just even through the process, is very enlightening, like a weight lifted off," Wilson said.

And that would be freedom.

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