Kootenai Prosthetics & Orthotics

Amputees In Action

Gary Wilson

Gary at Tubbs Hill, ID
With a blue and black, industrial-strength Ossur Ceterus pylon taking the place of his right leg, pads that add three inches to his already formidable shoulders, heavy-duty knee guards and a bicycle built for speed and spills, Gary Wilson looks like the Downhill Terminator.

Till he smiles, which he does often, and you get the feeling that this adrenalin junky has a mellow side.

The 54-year-old father of two and grandfather of one defies age with zeal, the same way he challenged what it means to be an amputee. Mountain biking, downhill racing, back country packing, weight lifting and coaching baseball create his gusto-grabbing life, but granddaughter Marley Jaye transforms him into a doting softie. His storehouse of Marley Jaye stories outshines any talk of downhill bikes.

Gary lost his leg in a head-on motorcycle accident when he was 18 years old. "I was going about 55 miles an hour," he says. "Lost a tooth, cut my lip, chin -- and lost my leg."

"I met a guy in a wheelchair a while back," he adds. "I asked him why he was in that chair. Because he lost his leg. I tapped my own and said ‘Yeah, me, too, and I’ve never been in a wheelchair, never gonna be."

Gary lives in Athol, Idaho, with his wife Cheryl of 29 years. Their sons Adam, 27, and Brandon, 24, have left home, something that wasn't easy for a dad who was close enough to his boys that they invited him to Oz Fest with them.

A few years ago, Gary decided he wanted “some ink” and tossed the idea of a tattoo around with his sons. It had to be something special, something quirky. They settled on a four-inch high handicapped symbol on his left calf, straight across from his artificial leg.

"Life is short, and every single day I appreciate being alive." Gary says. "If somebody offered to give me back my leg, I wouldn't take it. Well, I'd have to think it over. It's part of who I am, a huge part of who I have become. And heck, if I got my leg back, the tattoo wouldn't be funny anymore."

Other Amputees In Action

Don Bennett


Jack Lamb

Denzel Tucker

Dian Hanson

Ken Larson