This Veterans Voices isn’t from the Ohio Valley, but when 7News heard Colonel Gregory Gadson speak, we couldn’t resist bringing you his story.
The Virginia native is now retired, but served in the Army for more than 26 years.
His career is one of leadership, determination, and sacrifice, but now as a speaker he wants to pass on to others a message of resilience.
“As I say, keep plowing, keep grinding and the rest will sort its way out,” Gadson said during an exclusive interview.
Which is certainly what he’s done.
When you hear Gadson speak, it’s all about overcoming challenges, and he’s had his fair share since graduating from West Point in 1989.
“It really enhances the values of teamwork and working together,” he continued. “Along with my education gave me a good head start in uh becoming a leader.”
Colonel Gadson has served in all the major conflicts of the past two decades.
“I’m truly grateful for my service,” he explained. “It’s not anything I would change, including the wounds that I sustained on 7th of May 2007.”
It was on that day that Gadson was wounded by an IED, eventually losing both legs above the knees and the use of his right arm and hand.
During his recovery is when he said he found it in his character to overcome.
“Really in a tough time and a tough period when I really wanted to quit, because that wasn’t my character, you know ultimately I decided I just needed to keep going,” Gadson explained.
Keep going he did, serving for nearly eight years after his injuries, Gadson became the Garrison Commander at Fort Belvoir, where he oversaw more than 50,000 military personnel.
“I’ve truly been blessed,” he added. “I have an opportunity that I hope represents so many veterans, that we do overcome. We have the ability to overcome and can contribute to society.”
Gadson is now an entrepreneur. He ha also done some acting in the movie Battleship and much more, but he’s also focusing on inspiring others.
“We all have an innate ability to overcome our own personal challenges,” Gadson added. “Nothing is promised to be easy. For me it comes from my faith. It starts with understanding in my faith as a Christian is that I can handle anything that the world throws my way.”
He also wants to show anyone that no matter what the challenge, they can overcome.
“It’s about understanding life and understanding what we can control in life and what we can’t control and putting our energies into what we can control,” Gadson said.
7News Colonel Gadson while he was in town giving one of his speeches about teamwork and perseverance at the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce dinner. You can watch a part of that speech in a digital exclusive attached to this story.