NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – For many, running ten miles might be a daunting pursuit, but few consider how hard it would be to run a 10 mile race with only leg or while deployed to a combat zone. For Angela and Peter Quintalla, running the Army 10-Miler was a different experience than it was for other runners.
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Angela Quintalla, a member of the Forward Surgical Team attached to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Task Force Bronco, ran the race this year while deployed in the Eastern region of Afghanistan, while her husband, a former Special Forces soldier, ran on the Nine-Line Team, a group of Wounded Warriors, in Washington, D.C. It is the third time he has run the race with a prosthetic leg. But running a 10 mile race was not always an option for Peter.
Peter was wounded in a training accident in 1997, but did not lose his leg until 2004. Peter’s initial prosthetic was not very accommodating.
“After soldiers began to return from combat in Afghanistan and Iraq with more war injuries, prosthetics got to be more advanced,” said Quintalla. “Initially it was a bit more difficult for Peter because he had to get used to what they gave him. But now, through Care Coalition, Peter has gone from basic amputee to high-functioning.”
Care Coalition is an organization which provides services for injured Special Forces warriors in any phase of a recovery, to include various services such as education programs and benefits for family members who may have lost their soldier. The organization caters not only to SF, but to injured Rangers, Delta Force, and Navy Seal service members.
“He was able to find Nine-Line through Care Coalition, and they sponsored him going to the race this year,” said Quintalla.
Aside from sponsoring Peter for the race, there are various other amenities Care Coalition has provided.
“Although Peter is now a very functional member of regular society again, and is out of the military, he continues to have certain medical needs,” said Quintalla, “and Care Coalition provides that.”
As a couple, the Quintallas have had to re-arrange their lives in various ways, but the one thing which has not changed is their determination to succeed together.
“We are the same as we have always been, there were just little things we had to change,” said Quintalla. “We have to make sure we take a little bit of extra time to plan trips and make sure they have the proper amenities for Peter, but we just do what we have to do and have gotten used to it. This is our life and we are living it like any normal family would, but with certain differences.”
As for the race, Peter adds he is amazed at those who come to run who have it much worse than him.
“There are those running the race with multiple limbs missing,” he said. “It’s always an inspiration to see them out there.”
“I of course wish we could [have] run the race together, but when I [was] in those last few miles and [needed] a little extra push, I [thought] of those running against much more adversity and I believed it gave me an extra push,” said Quintalla.
The story of Angela and Peter is one of perseverance and caring. Angela still says Peter is her “rock” and Peter still worries about her while she serves in a war zone. This year, the Quintallas will continue to draw from each other and their supporting organizations such as Care Coalition to get through their time apart, but mostly on each other.
“He has always amazed me,” she concluded.