Not many men would be able to carry that boulder across the finish line — even with two legs. But that’s what Nick “The Raging Panda” Koulchar is all about: pulling off impressive feats of strength and endurance while inspiring countless lives in the process.
According to his Facebook page, Koulchar joined the U.S. Army in November 2006 to become a Combat Engineer. While manning the gun on a vehicle rolling through Sadr City, Iraq, on August 26, 2008, they hit an IED. His teammate, Alonso, was killed. Both of Koulchar’s legs were amputated above the knee. He spent the next three years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, undergoing almost 60 major surgeries.
He finally left the hospital in October 2010, and has since dedicated his life to regaining his health and redefining what it means to be “disabled.”
Since that time I have chosen not to let the injuries I sustained define who I am as a person. I have dedicated a substantial portion of my time to getting back into shape. Not only for health reason but to break down barriers of what “disabled” looks like.
He has traveled all over the country, competing in marathons and public speaking.
I have successfully competed and completed 21 marathons to include Boston, New York, Detroit and Marine Corps marathons as a handcyclist. I have also taken on a role as an adaptive athlete in crossfit and as a public speaker.
Koulchar is an uplifting force for all kinds of people, but he devotes much of his time to helping his fellow veterans. He has advocated for veterans and their families as a National Service Officer for the Disable American Veterans organization and the Livingston County Veterans Services in Michigan, raising awareness for the non-profits by training and competing as an adaptive athlete.
I continue to train and find new avenues to inspire and motivate those that face physical and mental barriers. My goal is not only to help returning veterans learn how to adapt and overcome barriers they face daily. I hope to inspire all people, to motivate them to be the best person they can be and not to focus on the barriers life places in their path. Overcoming adversity has been a great life skill of mine, I hope by sharing my experiences and letting my actions speak for me that others can benefit in what I do
Koulchar took the hand he’s been dealt, threw it in the dealer’s face, then picked the dealer up and carried him several miles. The man simply does not give up. And if you inherit even an ounce of his heart after seeing him compete, you won’t either..