The Defence School of Transport had the honour and pleasure of meeting Simon Harmer.
Simon joined the Army in 1997 as and for 16 years experienced a full and varied career as a Combat Medical Technician, deploying on operations to Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia.
Sgt Hamer has enjoyed several different postings which included working with a Territorial Army Field Hospital in Cardiff and as a Permanent Staff Instructor, training recruits, both as a Section Commander and a Troop Sergeant at Army Training Regiment Winchester.
The Army has taken him all over the world, from the open plains of Alberta, Canada, Sweden and the polar circle in Kiruna to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In October 2009 during a tour of Afghanistan, Simon’s life changed forever when he lost both his legs in an IED blast.
After being injured Simon spent five weeks in Selly Oak having many operations on his right arm and what remained of his legs.
He ended up with a left above knee amputation, a right below-knee amputation and intervention to save the use of his right arm. After discharge from Selly Oak, he started rehabilitation at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, Headley Court near Epsom, Surrey.
His determination to live life to the full is embodied in the fact he was walking on prosthetic legs less than two months after his accident.
Since rehabilitation, Simon has taken part in a number of challenges; adaptive skiing only five months after being injured, riding across France on a hand bike and completing the Race Across America with an eight-man team, who in Simon’s words “only had one good leg between them’.
With help, Simon has rebuilt his life and since leaving the Army, he has become an ambassador for several service charities and thankfully for us, an excellent guest speaker.
DST had the opportunity to hear about Simon’s life and inspirational journey during a CPD event. The most amazing thing to take away from the hour that we spent with Simon was, that in no way has he allowed his injuries to diminish his unwavering strength of character; he simply hits every challenge head-on. Thank you, Simon, for such a motivational, entertaining and extremely humorous talk.
Talking during his visit to DST, Simon said;
“Every day I try to live my life as a thank you. I am very conscious that I didn’t get to where I am today on my own volition.”
“I have an incredible support network around me; my beautiful wife, Marisa, my family and friends, the incredible surgeon’s, clinicians, and the 50 blood donor’s that gave me blood in the first hour after the accident; even the kind gesture of a stranger placing 50p in a charity box. ”
“I owe all these people a massive debt, it’s a debt I will never be able to repay, so for those people, I try to live my life as a thank you to them.”