Spring can’t come soon enough for this wounded warrior

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Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring, and that is perfectly fine with Newberry resident George Ammerman.

“I hate winter. I don’t like the cold. I have arthritis, and the cold just makes it worse. Spring and summer are my favorite seasons because during those seasons, I can get out more,” said Ammerman, whose left leg was amputated after he was seriously wounded while fighting in the Korean War.

“The doctors tried for 18 days to save my leg. I had four operations during that time. No bones were broken, but the arteries behind the knee were cut,” said Ammerman, an Army veteran.

He was with a group of soldiers when they were suddenly hit by a round that killed two and injured four or five others.

“Three days after my 22nd birthday, on April 22, 1952, they took my leg off,” Ammerman said.

“It was almost a year before I got an artificial leg,” he added.

“Getting the right adjustment took some time,” he said.

Although the leg “did wonders for me as far as it went, there were limitations to what I could do,” he said.

Despite losing his leg, Ammerman went on to have a very productive life.

“It didn’t stop me from fishing. It didn’t stop me from raising a family. I married my childhood sweetheart, Alice,” Ammerman said.

The couple have been married 58 years. “We have four children, lots of grandchildren and some great-grandchildren, too,” said Ammerman, who went on to work for many years at Stroehmann Bakeries.

With his artificial leg, “I drove a car. I worked. It didn’t slow me down too much. I can’t dance worth a diddly-squat anymore, but then again I really wasn’t that good a dancer unless it was a polka,” he said.

Ammerman used a prosthetic leg for decades until he was injured in a fall while fishing several years ago.

Today he gets around using a scooter and a wheelchair.

“I’m looking for spring, anytime now,” he said.