Gina Kothe

Branch of Service: United States Army
Currently Residing In: Shokan, NY

Born and raised in Upstate New York, Gina joined the Army in the Delayed Entry Program at the young age of only 16. She knew in order to better her life she had to leave home, but was not financially able or prepared for college. Gina enlisted as an Aircraft Armament Specialist and was on her way to Basic Training just days after graduating high school. Being stationed at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii was an amazing duty assignment and although Gina saw no wartime conflict she was fortunate to obtain an honorable discharge with no significant injury or disability.

Years later, after serving a once again, this time in the Army Reserve, graduating college, and raising a family, Gina tragically lost her mother. Gina made a commitment to educate herself and never feel that helpless in a medical emergency ever again. She became a professional firefighter and in December of 2010, while on a challenging structure fire, Gina suffered a crush injury that left her in debilitating pain. Frustration, anger, lack of sleep, depression, and chronic unrelenting pain were constantly showing up to destroy any part of a productive day. After years of trying to salvage the limb, her right leg was ultimately amputated below the knee.

As a soldier, the skills learned working with diverse people, overcoming challenges, basic survival, and having empathy for those struggling alongside her have helped carry Gina this far. Her hope is to gain the confidence and skills to get past her limitations, out of her own head, and embrace a No Barriers lifestyle regardless of labels put upon her.

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