Upper Southampton soldier who lost legs in Afghanistan wins 'Most Courageous' award

CHERRY HILL, New Jersey (WPVI) -- At its annual fundraiser gala in Cherry Hill, New Jersey on Monday night, the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association presented the "Most Courageous Athlete Award" to Army Cpl. Kevin McCloksey.

McCloskey, a native of the Tacony section of Philadelphia now living in Upper Southampton, Pennsylvania, lost both of his legs when the vehicle he was driving struck an improvised explosive device while serving in Afghanistan in June 2008.

The former wrestler at North Catholic High School also suffered a traumatic brain injury, fractured pelvis and his hand was blown off but later reattached.

The courage he showed on the battlefield continued during his recovery in the hospital and each day since living as a double amputee.

Cpl. McCloskey's mother, Joann, said her son has shown remarkable tenacity in his recovery.

She said he finds his strength through his family, his wife, and the game of golf, a sport he discovered after his injury.

Cpl. McCloskey said golf has allowed him to heal.

"It's very easy to see the nasty things in life, but when you get on a golf course and it's sunny, and nice out, there's nothing better," said Cpl. McCloskey.

McCloskey has golfed on some of the most prestigious courses and caddied for the game's best. But he also finds fulfillment in volunteering to help improve the lives of wounded veterans through golf.

He volunteers to help other veterans and amputees relearn golf through the Eastern Amputee Golf Association's First Swing clinics. He also works with the PGA Helping Our Patriots Everywhere (HOPE) Program, which aims to improve the lives of veterans with disabilities through golf.

McCloksey's dedication to helping others led the Philadelphia Sportswriter's Association to select McCloskey for its "Most Courageous Award."

"He doesn't see himself as courageous, but we do," said PSWA board president Mike DeNardo. "One of the things he does is to speak to other wounded veterans about the process of coming back and living life."

His father, Tom McCloskey, said the award is a great honor and perhaps the biggest award his son has received since his Purple Heart.

Cpl. McCloskey said sports is one of the biggest therapies for him because it takes his mind away from his troubles.

He said at this time he is going to need strength. Twelve years after the incident that took his legs, he said he is just now beginning to deal with the mental effects of the attack.
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