Wounded soldier turns hockey sticks into canes for vets

HIGHLAND, Ill. (KSDK) – He lives in a small town and his life is quiet – just the way he wants it.

He really doesn't need any more action. After all, First Sergeant Robert Guithues has had enough – more than enough.

For 21 years, Guithues has served our country. Between Iraq and Afghanistan, he's been involved in more than 200 combat missions. Four years ago, in the Kunar Providence in Afghanistan, shortly after placing a machine gun down in preparation for a battle with the Taliban, the steps Guithues tried to go down caved, and he fell on his back.

Doctors put a spinal cord simulator in his back that allows him to walk gingerly with a cane, but the pain doesn't go away.

Last month, the organization Seg for Vets improved his quality of life by giving him a Segway and suddenly, he was mobile again.

In the process of getting out of his shell, Guithues got out of his house, and now, he's doing his part to help veterans by taking old hockey sticks – some of them broken – and turning them into canes for veterans.

He can do it in less than 30 minutes.

He refuses to profit from it – instead, he just asks for old sticks and then gives them away.

Robert Guithues: he lost something in Afghanistan, but he's giving something back here in America.

If you would like to help Guithues make the canes for veterans, you can drop off old hockey sticks at the Madison County Fire Departments. There are three in Granite City.

Local hockey organizations -- including the Blues -- are getting involved.


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