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Local War Vet Rick Yarosh gives motivational speech to Johnson City students

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Johnson City 6, 7th, and 8th graders packed into the Johnson City Middle School to listen to a shy Windsor High School graduate turned into war vet and motivational speaker.

"I could not stand public speaking, I was horrified of it, absolutely terrified and now, I'm so comfortable because it's my story," said Rick Yarosh, Retired U.S. Army Sgt.

In December 2005, Rich Yarosh was deployed to serve in the Iraq War. Nine months into his service on September 1, 2006 he was injured by an IED bomb that went off during combat. Rick suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns and lost his right leg but even through all that pain and suffering, he never gave up.

"Hope stands for Hold On Possibilities Exist. If you don't hold on, you'll never know the possibilities that exist for your future. If I gave up that day that I was burned and on fire in Iraq, I would have never know the possibilities that existed like this, what I am doing now with these kids," said Yarosh.

And while he has been motivating students with his words, he has also been motivating himself through exercise. On January 1st this year, he went down to Florida to train in the EXOS camp, a training facility for professional athletes. He is working on accomplishing his goal of weighing 200 pounds by October 22nd.

"I lost 25 pounds when I was there. I continued to lose wright when I got back and now I am 45 pounds down from my original weight," said Yarosh.

Since becoming a motivational speaker, he has lifted the negative feelings off his shoulder and brought a positive light to his new life. He doesn't see himself as a special person but a man who has been through a special situation.

"I don't like to be considered a hero at all. But if I am going to be a hero, I want to walk out this door being a hero because of what they heard from me because i might have given someone hope to hold on and continue doing the thing they want to do in life," said Yarosh.

You can see more of Rick's work at http://www.rickyarosh.net/