SAN ANTONIO - A lot of us are making resolutions for the New Year. If you have done that before, you know there will come a time when you feel like giving up.
Sometimes it helps to hear how someone else made it past that moment. A Purple Heart recipient is sharing how she stays motivated to reach some really big goals.
Her goals include climbing the tallest mountains on each of the seven continents of the world.
Marlene Rodriguez is starting off by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in just a few weeks.
After that, she’ll tackle Mt. Everest.
She wants to be the first female Purple Heart veteran to reach the top of seven famous mountains.
She’s been preparing for months with treadmill work, stair runs, and hiking trips. Hearing about her training, you wouldn't know she has had injuries from a bomb while serving in Iraq.
“I took a direct hit and the blast was very severe. It caused me a traumatic brain injury which then brought on a seizure disorder,” said Rodriguez. “Which was the reason for me not being fit for duty.”
The bomb ultimately blowing up her career in the army.
“I was medically retired and from there forward is where I continued my treatment of trying to control the seizures and with that control the PTSD,” said Rodriguez.
Deciding a new life path that did not include her Army career dream was tough at first.
“When I got out of the army I was like really huge. I was like 210 pounds. It was just cause my injuries didn’t allow me to do any kind of fitness or anything,” said Rodriguez.
Then came a breakthrough.
“When I was finally able to (work out) it was more so about losing the weight,” said Rodriguez. “Once I started losing it I started setting little goals. I’ve learned over the years that recreation is what helped me tremendously.
On the tough days, she has a reminder to press on.
The memory of a fellow soldier who died on the battle field.
Kevin Jones didn’t make it back to U.S. soil alive but his legacy is something Rodriguez carries. She is determined to honor him on the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
“Why not take this private to the top of the world? That’s my goal, to put him at the top and that’s where I’m going,” said Rodriguez.
While her drive and determination has been put to the test more often than most people in San Antonio, the veteran says you can use her tactics for overcoming the urge to quit.
“You’re only as strong as your greatest excuse,” said Rodriguez. “I say small goals is the best way to start, little goals. Small is fixing your bed in the morning. That’s an accomplishment. I’d say if your goal was to lose weight, set a two or five-pound weight limit.”
She says every victory proves there is always more to get out of life.
“Even though I do have a disability, I can accomplish stuff. I can set goals for myself. I can make my life better and move forward from this severity.”
Rodriguez is climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro with a group. She says it should take about 12 days.
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