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Marine vet with arm transplant throws ceremonial first pitch at NY baseball game

Rockland Boulders baseball team at the Palisades Credit Union Park in Pomona, New York. (Rockland Boulders Baseball/Facebook)
August 10, 2018

On June 30, Marine veteran John Peck, who lost both legs and arms in Afghanistan, was able to throw the ceremonial first pitch at the Rockland Boulders game, thanks to a double arm transplant.

Peck received the double arm transplant just two years ago after losing all of his limbs in 2010 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device, Lohud News reported.

32-year-old Peck said: “Throwing the first pitch is kind of cool for me, I’ve never done that before.”

Prior to the transplant, Peck relied upon prosthetic limbs, but he went on a waiting list to receive the transplant.

Two years ago this month, he was the second wounded veteran to receive an arm transplant.

It has been a long journey for Peck. The surgery took 13 hours and was performed at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston by a team of surgeons from two hospitals.

Peck still receives physical therapy at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He was told that he would have approximately 20 to 30 percent functionality with the new limbs. Through hard work, he now can shower, dress, cook, drive, and even throw a pitch.

Barry Fixler, a Marine veteran well known for the assistance he offers to fellow veterans, invited Peck and his wife Jessica to be part of Boulders’ Military Appreciation Night after seeing Peck’s plight on social media.

“He’s a war hero, he’s my hero and I’d like to share him with 5,000 people. He is a gift, a breath of fresh air, no complaints. When I speak to him on the phone he’s just another fella. … he speaks soft, he speaks to the point. There’s no animosity, there’s no feeling sorry,” Fixler said.

Fixler served in Vietnam and was fortunate to return with “not a scratch on me,” as he said.

He now runs a foundation that raises money for vets who were severely injured in Iraq or Afghanistan.

“When I was in the service my biggest fears that I had were losing limbs. There were booby traps all over … It scared me in a positive way. Being in combat you see wounded Marines lost their arms, lost their legs. I just kept in my brain and when I became a civilian later on I knew I had to give back,” Fixler said.