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Born With No Arms, Nothing Stops Richie Parker

June 19, 2014

This is not a story about a Soldier, but it is about a man who fights.

“Every step of my life there’ve been been people telling me I can’t do things,” said Richie Parker. “I ‘couldn’t ride a bicycle.’ There’ve been some people who said I couldn’t live on my own.”

Richie Parker can not only drive a car, but as an engineer for a NASCAR team, he designs them. His story achieved notoriety last year, with an ESPN profile built around this video.

Watch Richie’s irrepressible will to endure, adapt and succeed. You’ll recognize these same qualities in our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, and the veterans who now have obstacles not unlike Richie Parker’s:

The Blaze noted Parker’s incredible attitude and desire for autonomy, not to have to rely on others.

“I don’t listen too much to people who tell me I can’t do something,” the 30-year-old born without arms said. “There’s not a whole lot that’s going to stand in my way.”

Parker first became interested in cars in his teens, wanting to drive but with many saying he could easily just take a bus or taxi. But that wasn’t his way. The 1964 Chevy that Parker has owned for the past 15 years is one he even had to convince its previous owners to sell to him.

“If a bicycle gave him a certain degree of freedom, the car gave him a greater amount of independence and pride,” Parker’s father said. “When he’s in that car, everybody’s on the same level.”

Parker, a 2009 graduate of Clemson University, reminded Thomas Sowell of another person dealt bad cards:

His story recalls the story of Helen Keller, who went to an elite college and on to a career, despite being both deaf and blind. Her story was celebrated in books, in television documentaries and in an inspiring movie, “The Miracle Worker.”

But our culture has changed so much over the years that the young man with no arms is unlikely to get comparable publicity. Helen Keller’s achievement was seen as an inspiration for others, but this young man’s achievement is more like a threat to the prevailing ideology of our times.

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