Name:  Mark Dellinger

Branch of Service:  Air Force

Years Served:  1980-2000

QL+ Challenge:  Spasticity Hand Brace, Virginia Tech.  QL+ mechanical engineering students are creating an improved hand/wrist brace for Mark, who suffered a stroke in 2014.  The brace will allow for good wrist and hand extension. 

What was your job in the military?  For the first ten years, I was a Security Specialist and the last ten years I was a Russian Language Interpreter.

What made you decide to join the United States Armed Forces?  As a consequence of making bad choices in my youth, I was given the choice of serving a prison sentence or of serving in the military.

How were you injured?  A blockage in my left carotid artery broke free and entered my brain resulting in a stroke leaving my right leg and right arm with diminished ability.

After your stroke, what was the most difficult hurdle you've overcome?
 Being able to walk confidently, anywhere I wanted to go.

What do you do for fun?  I work preparing sermons and then present them at churches in the D.C. metro area.

What motivates you?  Reaching as many as possible with the truth of The Gospel of Jesus Christ

How will the device the students are creating improve your quality of life?  It will increase the function in my right hand and arm. Being able to shake hands at the churches where I preach will be a blessing.

What has been like so far, working with our QL+ students?  It has been such fun. The students are able to see the possibilities and can then create a device to bring those possibilities to life. Watching them go from an “idea” to a concrete piece of equipment is a joy to watch.

Any words of wisdom to our QL+ students?  Relentlessly pursue the truth in every aspect of life and do not stop until you find Him. 

If you were writing a book about yourself, what would the title be?  Stroke of Luck (The people I’ve met because of the stroke have been a huge blessing to my life. To have gone through life without knowing those folks would have been a shame. It’s all good…).

The goal of our Challenger Salute is to honor the service and sacrifice our veterans and first responders have made for our country.  We are very grateful that our Challengers have agreed to participate in our program.  Their participation is helping us “build” better students.  They are providing our students with real-world experience and arming them with the tools they need to succeed once they graduate.