Tyler DeVaney retired from the Army at 27 because of serious wounds suffered in Afghanistan.
Still, he wants to continue to do his part in the war against terrorism.
DeVaney, a Queensbury High School graduate, was seriously wounded March 11 in eastern Afghanistan.
He went through a long hospitalization for scar tissue in his stomach, leg injuries and other issues and, after his treatment, he retired from the Army as a sergeant.
There were times he thought about giving up. His weight dropped from 180 to 140, although workouts have brought it back to 160.
He’s working with a personal trainer, but his focus is not always on the physical.
During his recovery, he moved to Washington, D.C., and attended the World Politics Institute, earning a certificate in global terrorism. Since then, he has been admitted to Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and leaves in August for a year in Bologna, Italy, then another year at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.
“I want to keep going,” DeVaney said. “I did not want what happened to happen for nothing.”
There have been times he struggled, but when he started working with Nick Lavery, a Special Forces soldier who lost a leg overseas, he started to come around physically and mentally, he said.
Lavery, a former Boston College football player, lost his leg, but still trains soldiers at Fort Bragg and works with injured soldiers like DeVaney.
“I learned I could accept that I had been badly injured and do nothing or I could keep going to the gym,” Devaney said. “And that makes me feel better at the end of the day.”
“The leg workouts are the worst, but everything is tough,” he said. “After a hard workout, I have to take a three-hour nap.”
It’s worth it.
“I think I am in a good place, better than I was.”
It’s not going to get easier once school starts.
“I have to admit, I am a little intimidated by the Johns Hopkins program,” DeVaney said, noting he is expected to be fluent in at least one language — he chose Spanish — before he graduates. He does not speak any Italian, but said he hopes to learn several languages over the next two years.
DeVaney is a graduate of Manhattan College. The DeVaney family lived in Queensbury until moving to Coppell, Texas, about three years ago.
His father, Jack, said he is thankful Tyler survived the 2013 attack, in which a man in an Afghan National Security Forces uniform jumped up on a truck and started firing at U.S. soldiers, killing two and wounding 10, including DeVaney.
One of the soldiers killed was Army Staff Sgt. Rex L. Schad, 26, of Edmond, Oklahoma. Like DeVaney, Schad was a member of the 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division.
“Good luck doesn’t even begin to describe it. It’s an absolute miracle he wasn’t injured more seriously,” Jack DeVaney said two years ago.
Now, DeVaney is proud of what his son has been able to accomplish.
“It’s been up and down and up and down, but he has stuck with this,” Jack DeVaney said.