Vietnam veteran given new lease of life with help from Peterborough firm

A Vietnam war veteran has been given a new lease of life thanks to a Peterborough firm.

Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 6:00 am
Hurley on his scooter

Peterborough’s Hurley Whitehurst, Vietnam war veteran aged 77, has been given a new lease of life thanks to a Top Gear winning mobility scooter from The Mobility Aids Centre.

Hurley Whitehurst (77), from March, was a theatre nurse and medical technician for the United States Air Force stationed all over the world and saw active service in Vietnam. During the 1980s he relocated, with his late wife, from California to Suffolk and was stationed at the Lakenheath airbase near Brandon.

Hurley found his role in the armed forces thoroughly rewarding and the most memorable times of his life. During the Vietnam war Hurley witnessed many horrific injuries as he worked with surgeons responsible for ‘putting soldiers back together’ at Cam Ranh Bay and Nha Trang bases. His resilience to challenging situations and an ability to cope under extreme pressure has resulted in a steely determination to remain independent during later life. However, in recent years his mobility has become restricted hence the need to use a mobility scooter. He chose a TGA Breeze from Peterborough’s Mobility Aids Centre. The scooter won the extreme scooter challenge on BBC Top Gear several years ago.

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Without a mobility scooter Hurley would not be able to access the local community as it is his only means of transport. He is fiercely independent and ‘hates asking anyone for help’ especially as Hurley ‘likes to keep himself to himself’ following the loss of his wife in 1989. Following retirement from the armed forces he continued as a theatre nurse for the NHS.

Hurley said: “I never dreamt I would make medical school let alone go on to help so many fellow service personnel. I’m no hero though. Vietnam will live with me forever; I will never forget the heat and the things I saw. I still hope one day to go back and see where I served. Having to take early retirement has been tough for me as I was part of the equation for so long. Without my scooter life would be even harder. I get so many fantastic comments when out and about, people say ‘wow man, is that for real?!’. I’m always patient with pedestrians and say ‘thanks yo’ll’ with a wave when they let me through.”

Hurley now uses his TGA scooter with extra torque and traction to visit the town, park and the doctors. With no children of his own, he spends time enjoying the outdoors independently and continues to be grateful for all the experiences that his air force career and everyday life have brought him.