Branch of Service: United States Air Force
Currently Residing In: Jerome, ID
My name is Mark Yearsley, a 51-year-old male who was born in Pocatello, Idaho but was raised in Helena, Montana. My back yard was a mountain where I learned to climb, hunt, fish, and enjoy other outdoor activities. I am married and have three children, another daughter and son through marriage, and three beautiful grandchildren. In 1985 I joined the Air Force as an Aircraft Mechanic, and later crossed trained into Air Traffic Control. I am a Gulf War veteran who served one tour in Southwest Asia, and was active duty Air Force for ten years.
While in the service I sustained injuries to my right leg, shoulders and back. After twenty-two unsuccessful surgeries trying to reconstruct my right leg, being in a wheel chair for a couple of years, and feeding on a diet of morphine every day, the doctors and I thought it would be best to amputate the leg above the knee.
Following the amputation I went into a serious state of depression and isolation for three years, not knowing if I could do those things I used to do and love. I found the outdoors again through a veteran’s organization where I had gained hope and developed a purpose in life. Two years ago I learned to rock climb. Each climb creates its own challenges and builds confidence, courage, concentration, stamina, discipline, and gives you a sense of accomplishment.
I now look for new challenges to keep me focused more on my abilities instead of my disabilities. Being a part of this team and climbing Gannet Peak is something I have dreamed about, and will help me overcome barriers I still face today. As an amputee I want to inspire other veterans and those who are physically challenged through my example of overcoming the limitations that at times are seemingly ahead of me.