Veteran who lost leg still serves country as VA police officer - KOTA Territory News

Veteran who lost leg still serves country as VA police officer


Getting wounded in battle can mean the end of military service. But for a KOTA Territory man, it was just the beginning.

"Joined as a military police officer and absolutely loved it," said Justin Shellhammer on Sunday.
He deployed to Bosnia, Kosovo, Africa, Iraq, and finally, Afghanistan.
"I was in Afghanistan for three weeks when I stepped on a land mine and lost my leg," he said.
The first mine threw him forward, and he landed chest-down on a second mine.

It was a dud.
"I'm pretty lucky in that aspect."
But then reality set in.
"I had a 6-month-old daughter at the time," Shellhammer said, "and the only thing I could think about was I'm not going to get to do the one thing every dad takes for granted, and that's walk your daughter down the aisle."
A few weeks and one prosthetic leg later, that outlook changed.
"Basically my daughter and I learned to walk about the same time."
Now Shellhammer spends his days as a V.A. police officer at Fort Meade -- still serving his country and his fellow vets.
"I wouldn't have it any other way," he said. "I love my job, I love being around veterans, so it's just natural."
He also noted he can offer veterans suffering similar injuries a perspective doctors can't.
"I'll pull my pants leg up and show them I have a prosthetic leg and they're like, 'How can you do that? You're a cop.' And I'm like, 'The only limitation is your mind.'"
And in his mind, it's like nothing ever happened.

"I look down, I see two boots, and it's no big deal. I just go on with my life."

The Meade County commissioners selected Shellhammer as the veteran of the month for November.

He said he's still shocked they chose him for the honor at all, but is ecstatic they did so for November, when the nation comes together to remember its veterans.

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