Alton Evening Telegraph from Alton, Illinois on June 28, 1968 · Page 8
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June 28, 1968

Alton Evening Telegraph from Alton, Illinois · Page 8

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Location:
Alton, Illinois
Issue Date:
Friday, June 28, 1968
Page:
Page 8
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ALTON EVENING FB1DA?, 28, Warrior Fights Another Battle FIRST TRY — In photo at left, 1st Lt. Shirley Mann of San Diego, Calif., and Airman Thomas Restifo, of Washington, D.C., watch as Richard Alford takes his first cautious steps at Scott Field Hospital. IN PANEL ABOVE- Alford still sports moustache which he wore in Vietnam. Photos were taken in two trips to hospital. On second trip Alford had shaved off the moustache because he got tired of it. TOP RIGHT PHOTO .— Lt. Mann helps Alford lift his damaged leg into the whirlpool bath, a treatment designed to encourage circulation and restore muscular activity. 'AT LEFT — Alford tells Lt. Mann that his leg feels better after a spin in the whirlpool tub. The Second Battle Courage comes easy to Army Spec. 4 Richard Alford, a modern warrior from Godfrey. He fights his battles one at a time. Alford, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Myron "Al" Alford, 491% Keller St. Godfrey, fought one violent battle in Vietnam, and was wounded severely when his leg was shot up. Now, tough, ,wiry Alford faces a different kind of bat- lie, a Quieter one, in which be must struggle to recover bis walking ability. £ Actually, it's the third fidvereity in the young Midler's life. When be was a boy of nine be nearly "flagged himself when be became entangled • in a rope while at play. Though doc- tore (eared lie would never ' " o| oxygen too long, ' on to graduate''' In his class from Alton High School. Alford's new struggle in Scott Air Force Base Hospital involves a daily bout with physical therapy. For five days a week, twice each day, he undergoes this therapy, once in the morning and once in the afternoon for about an hour each time. He also has it once daily on Saturdays and Sundays. Alford first is placed in the whirlpool bath to help mobilize hts leg, The swirling massages and relaxes the leg, making it easier to move around so he will get used to it. In the beginning, Alford was flat on his back and the initial therapy was first to let him beiu getting up on the tilt table, a device which places the patient in 9 vertical position. The purpose is to get him used to being upright instead of horizontal. Alford conquered that skirmish fast. He was on the tilt table only a week. He was then moved to the parallel bars, to learn stability while walking. But his physical therapy also includes active exercises such as bending and straightening bis leg, over and over, Two times a week he goes to the swimming pool where he exercises bis tog again in the water for about an hour each time. In between times, and he's supposed to do this whenever be remembers it, be does isometric exercises on his leg. Called "quad sets," he must keep tightening the muscles in the leg, to belp strengthen it. The isometrics are exer- cises that can be done without injuring the leg. Every Wednesday morning Alford is seen by other orthopedic physicians, including a doctor with a national reputation in the field. The doctors come around, ask him how he feels, examine him and confer with each other to pool their knowledge on the best course to follow, His nurse said Alford probably will undergo therapy treatment for at least another month, and tben if bis doctor degides-may* be get a brace for Us leg. He has not walked on his leg as yet, under bis doc* tor's order. The doctors at firjt thought they would have to amputate his leg, but he resisted. They now are sure that be eventually will recover full use of it, Alford was hit by Viet Cong machine gun bullets last May 6. The bullets ripped through his legs and groin. But not before he killed three of them with bis automatic weapon. "I've always had scars," Alford said, "so these are just added to the collection. I'm not a philosopher and I'm not a hero. A lot of men have died in Vietnam and a lot more have been more seriously injured than I. I'm only thankful that I was able to do my part and return all in one piece." Says Alford, who is neither bitter nor cynical: "I have a window by my bed and it's just wonderful. Just to be able to enjoy the scenery and feel myself getting stronger each day is something to be thankful for, What's all the fuss about?" VOUB SUPPBfi - Tfcey share wit left toot, flwnw flw koipUd bu to *

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