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Tackling challenges while helping other veterans

In 2006, 24-year-old Nicholas Koulchar entered the U.S. Army as a private. By 2008, he was deployed to Sadr City, Iraq, with Alpha Company 40th Engineers, Task Force 1/6, conducting counter improvised explosive device (IED) operations. Life, as he knew it, was about to change in ways he’d never imagined.

On August 26, 2008, while performing route clearance operations, his vehicle was hit by an IED. The vehicle’s driver, Col. Carlo Alfonso was killed, and Koulchar sustained catastrophic, career-ending injuries which included the amputation of both legs above the knee.

Koulchar’s severe physical handicap does not limit him in any way. In fact, he has accomplished more both physically and professionally than many able-bodied people. 

Since his injury, Koulchar has completed more than 20 marathons, five obstacle course races, several CrossFit competitions and numerous physical endurance events that put his limitations to the test. 

Through his work with DAV, he has also gone the distance to help his fellow veterans.

“DAV provided me with stable full-time employment after my injuries, creating a sense of self-worth and giving me a new worthwhile mission to help veterans,” said Koulchar. “The structure of full-time employment, coupled with the skills learned while becoming a national service officer, allowed me to find and tackle other challenges that once seemed impossible post-injury.”

In addition to working to assist veterans in his local community and competing as an adaptive athlete, Koulchar speaks throughout the country to honor, empower and motivate veterans. 

He said the new generation of veterans returning home from service need to be made aware of DAV’s highly-trained professional benefits advocates who are available for assistance with earned benefits.

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