Find­ing in­spi­ra­tion af­ter am­pu­ta­tion

The Amherst News - - FEATURE -

Eric Payne says life “has not been the same” since one of his legs was am­pu­tated fol­low­ing a mo­tor­cy­cle ac­ci­dent in­volv­ing him and the 12-year-old son of his friend Michael Tops.

The ac­ci­dent meant Payne’s 23year mil­i­tary ca­reer was over and was a “dark time” for him. “There’s an ad­just­ment pe­riod that goes on. I don’t want to say it ru­ined ev­ery­thing and that my life sucked, but it was hard crawling out of that,” he says.

Payne says he’s since “re­bounded” and now presents as a mo­ti­va­tional speaker through the Sol­dier On pro­gram, aimed at help­ing Cana­dian vet­er­ans adapt to and live with per­ma­nent phys­i­cal and men­tal health in­juries. Payne says he’s learned re­silience plays a vi­tal role in the re­cov­ery of any­one af­fected by in­jury, whether as a re­sult of a car ac­ci­dent or oth­er­wise.

“My re­silience has helped me face a world that is now to­tally dif­fer­ent for me,” he says.

Payne re­calls mark­ing the 10th an­niver­sary with the Tops fam­ily in Cold­brook as ‘a spe­cial mo­ment.’ His ex­pe­ri­ence now “serves as in­spi­ra­tion when I talk to oth­ers about what it’s like to be re­silient.”

Tops says the two have re­mained close since the ac­ci­dent, and re­gard­less of what caused it, plac­ing blame was never a pri­or­ity.

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