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Ken Rutherford, Ph.D. - United States of America

"In December 1993, I was working as a training officer for the International Rescue Committee in Somalia, where my job was to help Somalis apply for loans so they could rebuild their country. My project was funded by U.S.A.I.D. On December 16, as I was inspecting a program site near the border with Ethiopia, my car hit a landmine. I suddenly became something rare for an American--a landmine victim. It was to change my life forever.

"After the explosion, I first remember seeing a foot lying on the floorboard of the car. I remember thinking: "Is it mine?" It was. It was my right foot. I remember that I kept trying to put it back on, but it kept falling off. Then I looked at my left foot. The top part was ripped off and I could see bones going to my toes, one of which was missing.

"I dragged myself out of the car and called for help on my radio. It seemed like a lifetime before help arrived. While I was waiting, I prayed to God. I was also spitting up blood, so I thought that I might have internal injuries that could be fatal. I asked God that if I lived, I would like to marry Kim, my fiancé of two months, and raise a family. In the evacuation plane from Somalia to Nairobi, a Belgian doctor and an American nurse gave me blood from their bodies to mine.

"I am here today because of the resources I had at my disposal. I had a radio to call for help and airplanes to evacuate me. Most landmine victims are not so lucky. The U.N. estimates that the average lifetime care of a landmine victim costs from $5,000 to $7,000. My medical costs have already exceeded a quarter of a million dollars."

Today, LSN Co-Founder Ken Rutherford is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Southwest Missouri State University, where he teaches international relations, international organization and American Citizenship and Democracy. Dr. Rutherford has testified before congress and published articles on the landmine issue in numerous academic and policy journals, including World Politics, Journal of International Politics, Nonproliferation Review, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, and the United Nations Landmines Journal.

View the next profile: Roberta Sherry

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