kilimanjaro-combat-wounded-veteransSome Pinellas County wounded veterans are all missing limbs or battling traumatic brain injuries but that didn’t stop them from climbing a mountain for the sake of inspiration and research.

Climbing up Africa’s highest peak is an incredible challenge for anyone but retired staff Sgt. Pete Quintanilla took on Mount Kilimanjaro as an amputee.

Quintanilla recently set out on a mission with other vets through the Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge to prove their limitations aren’t so limiting after all.

“I actually was able to walk up without any physical issues, as far as my prosthetic leg,” said Pete Quintanilla via Skype.

He said they were joined by researchers from St. Petersburg College, including Arlene Gillis to see firsthand how far the men could go.

“For prosthetics, socket fit is a huge factor when it comes to patient success so we were monitoring volume changes under extreme conditions (like temperature changes),” said Gillis.

Researchers tracked their progress on how their prosthetics held up.

“That was the whole goal of this trip to assess what is causing the shrinking and swelling and assess different ways to control it,” said Ted Graves, prosthetics research student. “We feel it’s our duty to do this research and help others.”

And it’s not just about research or the challenge but also to inspire other wounded veterans.

“I’m able to go out and tell others who have the same injury as myself or some of my teammates, anything in life – you can accomplish anything,” said Quintanilla.

Researchers at St. Petersburg College say they’re working with Florida State University and the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve prosthetics.