Bill Eskridge of Rexburg, Idaho is a patient at Rocky Mountain Artificial Limb and Brace. When asked how is friends would describe him he modestly says, “A computer person…An Officer in the Army…Retired…Someone who enjoys traveling”. A few other words come to mind such as determined and inspiring.
Bill Eskridge was in the second ranger battalion in the early 80’s when he was given a mission to land by helicopter in a Calivigny Barracks raid in Grenada. He and 249 other rangers would be landing in the middle of a 900 reinforced Cuban infantry of battalions. While on the ground, Mr. Eskridge was shot once in his left leg. The pilot in the helicopter above him was shot, fell out of the helicopter, and landed on Bill’s helicopter. The blade dislodged from the helicopter severing his right leg. Bill and a medic immediately tried to turnicate his leg with a blood pressure cuff to stop the bleeding. His left leg was amputated soon after. While still deployed Bill acquired gangrene at the site of his amputation leading to 5 more surgeries in an effort to combat the gangrene. Eventually he arrived in Texas where he obtained his last surgery that succeeded in removing the gangrene. Amputation was officially in the past with a full life still left to live.
After losing his leg and retiring from the military, he obtained a degree in computer science, became a 3rd degree black belt in kajukenbo and a 1st degree black belt in goju shorei weapons. He proudly claims his martial arts is one of his greatest accomplishments since becoming an amputee. Twenty years after losing his leg above the knee Bill had another life changing event- a heart transplant at age 43. Always a fighter, he has since bicycled across the United States and the perimeter. Bill currently rides his bike about 10 miles a day, does P90X, cross country skis, downhill skis, fly fishes, does 5k runs with his children, and goes backpacking. He uses the Genium microprocessor knee for daily activity, a specialized prosthesis for running and backpacking and another for martial arts.
Bill is a father and husband who happens to be an amputee. As a family, they have traveled to all but three of the national parks in the United States, and now he and his wife enjoy watching baseball and plan to travel to all of the major and minor league stadiums with 60 stadiums under their belt thus far. Bills advice:
“Start using the leg as soon as you can. Don’t ever think just because you’re an amputee that you can’t do things because you can still do anything you want”.