LA paralympian, war hero honored for bringing home the gold

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Ralph DeQuebec (left), who lost his legs defusing bombs for the Marines, was honored after helping bring home the gold for Team USA in sled hockey. (KABC)

Ralph DeQuebec represented our country on the ice, winning gold in the Winter Paralympics in South Korea - but he first represented our country on the battlefield.

"I was in study hall one day and it was Sept. 11 and I saw what was on TV and I just thought school's not for me. I'm going to join the Marines."

He did three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan serving as a bomb expert disabling improvised explosive devices.

In June 2012 he was working on an IED at night when it triggered. He was blown up and thrown against a wall and his fellow Marine was killed.

DeQuebec lost both legs from above the knees.

But he was determined to recover.

He tried various recovery sports and eventually gave sled hockey a try.

"I did it once. I was terrible. Everything was new. Learning how to balance on this sled, learning how to propel myself with sticks, this black thing on the ice called a puck."

But then he made one clean hit and fell in love with the sport.

That love and a lot of hard work took him all the way to the Paralympics this February where he and Team USA won gold.

On Wednesday Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn honored the San Pedro native for his achievement.

"You truly are a hometown hero," Hahn told him.

It's been an unexpected journey of highs and lows, but this gold medal winning wounded warrior knows even better things still lie ahead

"I'm still trying to find out who I am and we're still writing this story."
Related Topics:
sportshockeyveteranmarinesdisability issuesLos Angeles
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