- Associated Press - Sunday, March 9, 2014

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - It almost sounds like a set up to a joke: What do you call a guy with one foot, missing fingers and a bad back who’s climbing Everest?

Trust me, it’s no joke. The answer is one highly motivated Marine.

This Marine in particular is Staff Sgt. Charlie Linville of Boise, who leaves for Everest base camp this month.

Linville was serving in Afghanistan in 2011 when an explosion caused his injuries. Linville was diffusing a bomb planted by insurgents when a hidden one beneath it blasted him into the air and dropped him into the newly formed blast crater.

He suffered severe foot injuries, lost several fingers, and the blast and subsequent landing injured his back.

After numerous surgeries and attempts to rehabilitate his foot failed, it was amputated in 2012, and he still suffers bouts of severe back pain.

It’s a sad story, but not an unusual one, especially considering 28-year-old Linville was an infantry Marine who re-enlisted and volunteered for an elite explosive ordnance disposal team whose job is diffusing bombs planted to kill Americans.

Linville served in Iraq and Afghanistan before he was medically retired from the Marine Corps. Had he also retired to the couch, no one would have blamed him. But sitting on the sidelines doesn’t suit his personality.

Last month, Linville summited Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America that tops out at 22,841 feet. It was a warm up for Everest.

So how does a Marine and amputee go from Iraq to Afghanistan to Everest?

An unlikely story gets a little stranger. A crazy biker, former Hells Angel and adventurer named Tim Medvetz crashed his Harley on Sept. 10, 2001. He lay in a hospital bed while the Twin Towers crumbled.

During his long rehabilitation - and after hearing doctors predict he would never walk again - Medvetz hatched an unlikely plan to climb Everest. After years of rehabilitation, training and two attempts, he reached the summit in 2007.

He thought his experiences might help others, so he founded a nonprofit, The Heroes Project, to help injured veterans push themselves by climbing mountains.

To date, he’s helped veterans with amputations reach six of the Seven Summits, the tallest peaks on each continent.

Linville and Medvetz met on the Santa Monica Pier in California during a fundraiser for The Heroes Project, and Medvetz was impressed by Linville’s drive and his story.

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