Soldier loses legs but not upbeat attitude

Friday, August 04, 2006 |  by Nicole Jansezian
HAIFA – With his shaved head and handsome face, Or Baron, just 20-years-old, looked more like a young pop star than a heroic soldier as he sat on his bed in a cramped room at Rambam Hospital surrounded by friends and Israel supporters from overseas.

While everyone else in the room was glum and emotional, Baron, an avid guitarist and rock band member, kept on smiling despite having lost both his legs during a battle in Lebanon – he still had his hands.

“I knew from the beginning that I lost my legs. I was in excruciating pain,” Baron said. “I crawled out of the tank with the remainder of my strength, with these wonderful hands, and I arrived at Rambam with 20 percent chance to live. But I still had my hands and my life as a gift and I’m already dying to get rehabilitated and return to perform with the band.”

Baron maintained his infectious smile while he thanked his well-wishers for their visit, posing for pictures with them and even serenading them on the guitar.

“It’s the most greatest feeling that people appreciate what you did,” he said. “Its not taken for granted.”

Baron was seriously wounded when his tank was hit in Maroun a-Ras. He said an RPG missile hit his tank. He saw almost immediately that he lost his legs and knew he would have to depend on his upper body to get himself out of the tank. He lifted himself up and started to yell for help.

“My commander, Yaakov Parness, helped me. He saved me along with the medics and other wonderful people who helped to stop my artery from bleeding,” Baron said.

Doctors said that when Baron woke up in the hospital, he immediately checked his hands to make sure they were okay. Then he asked for his guitar.

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