Dr. Allen Hayes, a disabled Vietnam vet whose bio reads like a Hollywood screenplay, was honored by the Safety Harbor City Commission on Tuesday night for his long history of dedicated service to his country and fellow veterans.
After playing a video depicting Hayes' time as a decorated downhill skier, Mayor Joe Ayoub read a proclamation that detailed many of the former Marine captain's accomplishments.
"Dr. Hayes is a highly decorated veteran who served three tours in Vietnam. His decorations include the Navy Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts."
"Dr. Hayes is an acclaimed author of several publications on sports medicine, and a nationally recognized motivational speaker," Ayoub read. "He is on the board of directors of several state and national veterans groups to include the Wounded Warriors foundation."
"Therefore I, Joe Ayoub, Mayor of the City of Safety Harbor, do hereby proclaim January 22, 2013 as Dr. Allen Hayes Day in the City of Safety Harbor."
Despite boasting a list of honors that would make Rambo jealous, Hayes, who lost both legs, seven fingers and one thumb to a mortar blast during his third tour in Vietnam, was visibly moved by the honor.
"It's an honor to be recognized by the city I live in," he said. "I've been to the White House and dealt with vice presidents and gold medals, but this will hang next to my awards."
"Usually I'm not too short with words, but I just want to say thank you. It's an honor to live in this city."
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In addition to Hayes' decorated military career and unflagging support of fellow veterans, he also became a highly accomplished downhill skier, winning a World Cup, a World Championship and an Olympic gold medal in events for the physically challenged.
Other commissioners heaped praise on the doctor of orthopedic sports medicine, who never let his disability get in the way of what he wanted to accomplish.
"The story is obviously an inspiration to all, and we're very pleased that you let us share it," Commissioner Cliff Merz said.
"It's an amazing story. I don't really have words to say," Commissioner Nina Bandoni said. "It definitely makes me feel as though I need to push myself to work harder."
Mayor Ayoub put a perfect capper on the entire ceremony.
"Everything you've done is motivated by you trying to care for other people," he said. "It's an incredibly motivated life story, and I just want to thank you personally for all you've done. I think your life is awesome."
"This is the real live 'Most Interesting Man In the World' right here."