One-Legged Man Walks Down East Coast - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

09/23/04

One-Legged Man Walks Down East Coast

He stepped on a landmine and lost his leg, but that has never slowed Julio Montoya down. In fact, this amazing man is walking more than a thousand miles to let people know his disability doesn't define who he is. Today he's walking through the Coastal Empire and Low Country with just a flag pole and a backpack. 

Montoya is making his way through on an inspirational journey from Boston City Hall to Miami.

"I try to show people with this walk that life is not finished, there are second chances," he told us. "That's what I came to do. That's what I want to share with people."

He lost his leg as a soldier in Peru, but after he recovered at Johns Hopkins, his doctors paid for him to come to the United States on a six-month visa. Montoya didn't want to waste his time in the US, so he took his message on the road.

"How can I make the best use of the visa? It is empowering the spirit of everyone around the world," Montoya said.

That's exactly what he's doing as he makes his way from town to town and state to state. Beside adding a flag from every state to his pole, he's also making a lot of friends.

"Very wonderful people in many of the states most of the time," he told us. "Many wonderful people. That is the reason I'm here."

In fact, he depends on people's generosity to give him food and shelter along the way. "I try to show the world, all right, the best thing we can do in this world is try to empower the spirit in the rest of the world."

Last night, a couple in Jasper County hosted him at their home. In fact, Montoya said the mayor of Yemassee housed him in a local hotel and fed him. To contact Montoya or for more information, visit his website, call his cell phone at  202-277-8288, email him at monty32_2000@hotmail.com, mail him at 7209 Dartmouth Ave., College Park, MD 20740.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

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