By Ken MacQueen - Monday, January 7, 2013 - 0 Comments
The former soldier survived an axe attack in Afghanistan, now he’s defying the limits of science in his recovery
It has been 25 years since Trevor Greene gave up competitive rowing for other pursuits: journalism, travel, soldiering, fatherhood, marriage. But today, at age 48, sitting in a wheelchair in his Nanaimo, B.C., home, the forcibly retired army captain is rowing as hard as he’s trained for any event in his life.
Today he rows only in his mind, where he also visualizes walking. The frustrations are enormous for a man once thought of as invincible. He used to be part of the men’s eight crew at King’s College in Halifax, and at the elite club level, pulling until his muscles screamed and the callouses were thick on his hands. Now he makes perfect strokes with his mind, the neurons firing along a familiar course as he stirs up long-remembered sensations: the feel of oar in hand and boat in water. “All that stuff: the sound and the heat and the pain,” he says. When the oar enters the water, “I imagine the tug on my shoulders, because it’s a very good feeling. Very distinctive.” Continue…
By Ken MacQueen - Sunday, December 14, 2008 at 11:00 PM - 34 Comments
Trevor Greene not only survived an axe blow to the head, he lived to speak, move, write a book, and soon, marry.
Canadian army Capt. Trevor Greene is talking. Really, it’s hard to overstate how amazing that is. He’s sitting in the big easy chair in the den off the kitchen of the Nanaimo home he shares with his fiancée, Debbie Lepore, and their 3½-year-old daughter, Grace. The voice is quiet, for a big man of six foot four. The thoughts are clear and unflinching. Words are rationed; the sentences short, stripped of extraneous weight for their march across the wounded terrain of his brain. Like when he describes first meeting Debbie in 2001, at what he calls a Vancouver bar and she prefers to think of as a restaurant. They were with separate groups at separate tables. “I looked across the room,” the infantryman says, “and she captured me.” That says it all.
Lepore, smiling, arches an eyebrow at his hyperbole. “Across the room,” she says, “wasn’t it about five feet?” He shrugs. “It was her smile,” he continues, “and her laugh.” Whatever the distance, they’ve been closer ever since. Except for his deployment to Afghanistan, of course. She wasn’t there on March 4, 2006, when the platoon he was part of visited the village of Shinkay, when they sat with a circle of village elders under the trees, in the shade by the river. It was his last memory of Afghanistan. The Canadians had their helmets off as a sign of respect. Greene’s job was civilian-military co-operation, to help villages in Canada’s area of responsibility with access to clean water, medical facilities, electricity and schools.