(KTTC) -- Rochester native, Vietnam veteran and former national commander of Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Jim Sursely has died.
According to a Facebook post Sunday from DAV, Sursely died on a trip to Montana.
After graduating from Lourdes High School, Sursely joined the Army in 1966. Two years later, he was sent to Vietnam.
During a combat mission in January of 1969, Sursely’s life changed forever when he stepped on an enemy landmine during a perimeter check.
“At like 6:15 in the evening, bang. And you know, blew me about 20-25 feet in the air, traumatically amputated all three of my limbs just because of the force of the explosion. ” said Sursely during a 2019 interview with KTTC.
He later went on to become an advocate for veterans. In 2004, Sursely was elected national commander of DAV. Eleven years later, Sursely was elected to the board of directors of the Disabled Veterans’ Life Memorial Foundation.
Sursely's passing was also recognized by veterans advocate and Hollywood actor Gary Sinise in a twitter post.