He lost his legs and left arm in Iraq.
He lost his cherished campaign hat in Spa Creek.
But he's still smiling.
"Just happy to be alive," he'll tell anybody within earshot.
This decorated serviceman ( The Wounded Warrior Foundation requires that the names of injured warriors not be disclosed) and his family joined approximately 30 other Wounded Warriors at the Sixth Wounded Warrior Sailing Regatta held in Annapolis Harbor on September 12, 2015.
Jointly sponsored by The U.S. Sailing Hall of Fame, Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB), the Connected Warrior Foundation and Warrior Events, the Regatta pairs wounded men and women from the Armed forces with experienced CRAB skippers and/or Naval Academy Sailing Team members for a morning of racing and discovery on the Bay,
This year's Regatta had it all...Rain. Wind. A man overboard. A 10-year-old at the helm in 20 knot winds. A touch of sea sickness.
For the hero featured here, it was a time to connect with his daughter, mother and father and girlfriend.
Disabilities disappear on the water, where all are equal before the twin forces of wind and waves.
"This Regatta lets the sailing community give back to those who have sacrificed so much for their country, " says event spokesman Paul Bollinger.
Will this day on the water convert any of the warriors into sailors?
"Who knows," says Bollinger with a smile.
"I know some of the servicemen and women learned some new skills out on the water today. And, when the wind picked up, they were no doubt exposed to some colorful nautical language. It's our goal to expose as many folks as we can to the healing power of wind and water Hopefully, we've encouraged some of them to come back out and try it again. Maybe we can even find that hero's hat floating somewhere in the Bay."
For more information, contact: Paulbollingerjr@aol.com.
Sgt. Luis Rosa-Valentin is greeted by Vice-Admiral Phil Cullom.
Rosa-Valentine lost both les and his left arm in Iraq in 2008.
Sgt. Rosa-Valentin offers a salute durmg the playing of the National Anthem.
Sgt. Rosa and his family make their way down the dock.
Sgt. Rosa-Valentin is helped aboard a specially-designed Freedom 20 which allows sailors with limited mobility the ability to control the vessel.
Sgt. Rosa-Valentin with his family aboard the Freedom 20.
Sgt. Rosa-Valentine handlse the jib sheet.
All smiles after the race....lost hat notwithstanding!