Monday night, a wounded military veteran took the ballroom stage on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.” Judging by his beautiful performance, however, you’d never know he had lost two limbs.
Noah Galloway is a combat veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005. Three months into his tour of duty, he lost his left arm and leg in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack. His severe injuries launched him into a deep depression, until one day he decided to turn his life back around and get into shape. Today, he is a personal trainer and even recently appeared on the cover of Men’s Health. After restoring both his mental and physical fitness, he’s now giving himself a new challenge: putting his dance skills to the test as a contestant on “Dancing With the Stars.” Although he may be at a disadvantage from the other competitors who have full function of all their limbs and joints, he insists his injuries are not a handicap.
"I want to be more than just the guy missing an arm and a leg."
He has successfully shed that label in just his first dance. Performing a cha cha with DWTS pro Sharna Burgess, Galloway’s effortless movements earned him a standing ovation from the audience.
The judges were equally impressed. Carrie Ann Inaba said it was “profound” and Bruno Tonioli called him a "titan" for what he accomplished.
With his courage, Galloway has demonstrated that veterans are more than charity cases. Before him, former U.S. Army Soldier Jose Rene "J.R." Martinez joined the DWTS cast in Season 13. For those unfamiliar with Martinez's story, he suffered severe burns while serving in Iraq after his Humvee struck a roadside bomb. As a result of the accident, he had to undergo several skin graft surgeries that left him with scars over his face and body. Martinez would go on to win the ABC show. Doesn't really sound like someone who needs pity...
Can Galloway be the next vet to carry a mirrorball trophy home? It's too early to tell, but his cha cha was truly an historic and poignant moment. Kudos to "Dancing with the Stars" for giving Galloway the chance to shine.
I’ll leave you with Judge Len Goodman’s short but poignant reaction:
"Noah, I salute you. Well done."
Watch Noah’s complete dance - and please, give him your vote, not your sympathy.