Billy Costello is raising funds for Gold Star Teen Adventures and is a part of the Gold Star Teen Adventure 50 KM Freedom Swim Team. Starting on 10 November and ending on 11 November 2013 (Veterans Day), he and seven other open water swimmers will swim a 24-hour charity swim relay with the goal of swimming at least 50 km (31.68 miles) in 24 hours. Each swimmer will swim a minimum of four miles.
Costello enlisted in the Army in November 2002. Costello deployed in support of Village Stability Operations for remote districts of Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. On the 20 September 2011, he was injured after stepping on an anti-personnel Improvised Explosive Device during a dismounted reconnaissance patrol. The blast traumatically amputated his right leg through the knee. Since recovering from his injuries Costello has returned to his Unit to further serve in an active duty capacity while going through the medical retirement process.
Since his injury he has sought out many opportunities to excel and return to the high activity level he knew prior to losing his leg. He grew up snowboarding various mountains along the east coast, so when the opportunity came to snowboard the mountains of Montana 4 months after his injury, he couldn’t pass it up. From there he returned to SCUBA diving, surfing, running, cycling, and eventually mountain climbing. He has had the pleasure of cycling with the former Commander in Chief George W. Bush in the 2013 Bush 100K. Costello has also been active with the Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge completing challenges in austere environments while collecting scientific data for the improvement of prosthetic devices and socket systems. The research expeditions that he has participated in include the SCUBA Challenge, 2012 with the SCUBAnauts and SFUWO in Key West, FL; Kilimanjaro Mountaineering Challenge, 2013, “The Impact of High Altitude Mountaineering on Lower Limb Amputees, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Traumatic Brain Injury Patients”; Grand Canyon Challenge, 2013; and SCUBA Challenge, 2013 with the SCUBAnauts and Special Forces Underwater Operations School.
Gold Star Teen Adventure 50 KM Freedom Swim Team
Gold Star Teen Adventure 50 KM Freedom Swim Team is a 50 km (31.68 mile) charity swim by 8 American open water swimmers in Islamorada, Florida. The charity swim relay will start on 10 November and end 11 November 2013 with the goal of swimming at least 50 km and each swimmer swimming a minimum of 4 miles off of the Florida Keys. Gold Star Teen Adventures provides adventure camps to the surviving youth of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations personnel who have lost their lives in the line of duty. The vision is to enable healing, foster enduring relationships, and develop character and leadership skills.
50KM Freedom Swim Members
- Kent Solheim
- Pete Colbert
- Billy Costello
- Celia Wolff
- Paul MacNamara
- Greg Cello
- John Leitner
- Patrick Powers
- Jessica McCloskey