Blind vet not letting injury impair his sense of adventure

Published: Jan. 8, 2018 at 4:28 PM MST
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Imagine enjoying all the beauty that Western Colorado has to offer, without being able to see it.

Army Specialist Steven Baskis lost his sight after he was wounded in the War in Iraq. But he hasn't let his disability stop him from enjoying the adventure of a lifetime.

"I always said to family and friends and strangers growing up that I wanted to see the world and travel the world," Baskis said.

You can see that Steven Baskis has turned dreams into reality. But the sight of him moving around with a white cane is also a reality.

SPC Baskis joined the Army several years after witnessing the horrors of 9/11 in his backyard. He watched the towers fall from his home on Long Island.

He was sent to Baghdad. Specialist Baskis was part of a personal security detachment on May 13, 2008.

"While on the ground there my vehicle I was in was hit with an IED," Baskis said. "I lost a good friend and I woke up pretty much half a world away from the battlefield."

Specialist Baskis sight was gone. Multiple shrapnel injuries to his head, neck, arms and legs also caused him to lose his sense of smell, some hearing, and nerve damage to his left arm.

But in the years after that day, Baskis took it upon himself to live his life to the fullest.

"A lot of them were things I was dreaming about when I had sight," Baskis recalled. "I've pursued mountaineering, for instance, all over the world."

His sense of adventure and giving back brought him to Montrose a few years ago. He was helping two organizations in town, and it peaked his interests.

"The warm reception from people here in the town," Baskis said. "They had their arms open and I've fallen in love with the western side of Colorado."

Now the community, and a group that helps wounded vets, is giving back to him. Homes for Our Troops, a national non-profit, is building a specialized home for him in Montrose.

"Right now I'm in an apartment and unfamiliar areas are hard," Baskis said. "This home is going to have different things built to make my life easier."

Whether he's climbing 14ers, riding bikes, or rowing downstream, it's easy to see how Specialist Baskis sense of adventure has helped him overcome not having the sense of sight. And how his vision is inspiring others along the way.

"I tell people I'm quite literally guided through life," Baskis said.