Archive for the 'TedX Conference' Tag

“You always have the choice to be more than who you are. In doing so, you will inspire someone.” Lt. John Pucillo, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) officer in the U.S. Navy, emphasized this theme of personal choice in his speech to a packed theater at the Navy Memorial  last Friday. Lieutenant Pucillo, who lost a leg in an IED explosion in Baghdad in 2006, was one of nine speakers selected to perform at the November 19 “Tedx Pentagon: The Human Stories” conference, which was hosted by the Department of Defense and webcast live. The short and succinct speeches, with their talent silouetted in the dark theater, were essentially one-act, one-man plays — much more compelling than a traditional Power Point-dominated lecture.

The day Lieutenant Pucillo was injured was the day he made the conscious decision to embark on a long journey to take back his life. As he describes it, there are things in life we can control and things we cannot control. Separating out those two and focusing on the controllable is a personal choice, albeit a hard one.

After intense rehabilitation at Walter Reed, Lieutenant Pucillo managed to return to active duty as an EOD officer 15 months later and he continues to serve today. Given the fact that many in his position would have left the military, he says he is often asked why he chose to return to service. He admits that he doesn’t have a very satisfactory answer, except that “my love for EOD is very focused and I’m sure it’s rare.” As he reiterates, he continues to struggle daily with his determination not to let his injury define him. But, the chance to inspire others motivates him. Listen to him tell the story of one young girl he unintentionally influenced.

The Navy Memorial is hosting an exhibit highlighting the Navy’s EOD community. It will be on display through 2011.