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VETERANS: Martinson’s golfing inspiration

Letter by Dianne M. Bechtold, Bonney Lake on May 7, 2010 at 11:38 am | No Comments »
May 7, 2010 11:40 am

It was a pleasure to view the video of Vietnam veteran Jim Martinson hitting practice drives at the American Lake Veterans Golf Course (blog.thenewstribune.com/photo). I also enjoyed recent newspapers accounts about Jim and the facility.

When I read that he was the Boston Marathon champion in the wheelchair division in 1981, I realized that I had his finish line photo in my own runners scrapbook. I ran Boston the same year and kept all the articles published by The Boston Globe the following day, April 20, 1981.

Jim was shown rolling over the finish tape with a big smile and lots of dark brown hair. The caption read “Capturing the wheelchair division title in the marathon was Jim Martinson, 34, of Puyallup, Wash., whose time was 2:00:41. He lost both legs to a land mine in Vietnam in 1968.”

I grew up in Sumner and was proud of my neighbor’s achievement. Now I mostly cycle, another sport where equipment can be adapted for many levels of mobility. I hope Jim has achieved his goal to break 50 over nine holes.

(Bechtold, a retired colonel, served in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps.)

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