WINONA, MN (WEAU)- A boy who’s legs were burned and amputated from a earthquake is now challenging the mighty Mississippi.
Hector Manley and an old college roommate started “Paddling for a Purpose” down the river in late May, and have made it to western Wisconsin.
“When the earthquake happened the ground started shaking and split and I fell into the fire,” said Manley.
Hector was 11 when he fell into a flaming garbage pit during one of the largest earthquakes in El Salvador.
“Next thing I know I wake up a week later and my legs were gone. That’s been the hardest part about being an amputee is the very first realization,” said Manley.
He thought all his dreams were gone, until a family from Ohio took him in as one of their own. Now he is living one of his dreams kayaking the Mississippi and raising money for charity.
(If you wish to donate to Paddling for a Purpose… CLICK HERE )
“I’m excited it’s a goal that’s within reach and we have a long ways to go,” said Manley.
So far Hectors completed the trip with one of his best friends, who happens to be from La Crosse.
“I graduated from Logan High in La Crosse, Wisconsin . I went down to Tampa Florida to continue my education, and Hector and I were freshman roommates,” said Michael Weber.
The two were roommates throughout college. Now that they’ve graduated they are having one last trip together.
But in just a few days Hector will be on his own as Weber stops in La Crosse to go off to Officer Basic for the Army.
“I’m kayaking with one of my best friends and embracing the last little time I have with him,” said Weber.
“It will be hard to get used to the trip without him on board,” said Manley.
It’s going to take Hector 3 months to complete his whole trip down the Mississippi to New Orleans.
Once he has completed his trip he will to donate all the money he has raised to the Wounded Warrior Project and the Wheel Chair Foundation.
“We have the goal of 50 thousand dollars by the time we get down there,” said Manely.
So far they have raised 27 thousand dollars.