Photos and text used with permission of CDR (Ret.) Robert Haas.
Robert Haas, retired Navy Supply Corps Commander (CDR), served America honorably for 27 years, always living by the motto “give back more than you receive or take.” An occupation that began in 1973 at Miami University – he signed on as a ROTC midshipman – resulted in a distinguished career aboard five ships, two of which were deployable commands. CDR Haas was an instructor at the Naval Supply Corps School in Athens, Georgia, and during the last 10 years of his service, he worked for the Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) at the Pentagon.
On July 3, 2012, while serving in the Naval Reserves, the unsuspecting Haas suffered a blood clot in his left leg as a complication of an older military injury leading to the amputation of his leg below the knee. Prior to the amputation, Haas had always been very active, and his first thoughts focused on how the loss of his leg would impact his ability to fulfill his dreams. These fears were not placated, when his search for a physically active support group yielded no results. Determined to keep his dreams alive, Haas set out to help other amputees stay active and return to their normal lifestyles by launching the Amputee Recreational Support Group of Central Ohio (ARSGOCO). ARSGOCO offers numerous recreational activities that encourage amputees to use their prosthetic device(s), empowering them to be active with the goal of rebuilding self-confidence, self-esteem, and ambulatory skills so that they can pursue their dreams.
In addition to his work with ARSGOCO, Haas actively gives back to the amputee community through his motivational speaking and work with a host of advocacy organizations including membership in the Paralyzed Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Veteran Wellness board at the VA Chillicothe, and chairing the advisory board at the VA of Columbus. CDR Haas is the director of both the VA Wellness and Sports Initiative and ARSGOCO. Robert is also on the Delta Airlines Advisory Board on Disabilities.
Apart from his outreach and advocacy efforts, Haas enjoys hobbies such as swimming, cycling, reading, and listening to music. He loves traveling with his service dog, Gracie. Haas actively engages in Paralympic recreational and sporting activities and was even able to run a 5K in April 2013 using his prosthetic leg.
As a result of his extensive advocacy work, Haas was encouraged by the CEO and President of the Amputee Coalition to apply for the Department of Defense Scientific Peer Review Panel for the Peer Reviewed Orthopaedic Research Program (PRORP). Being part of this panel has been a rewarding experience for Haas, who expresses admiration for the scientists alongside whom he works, reviewing applications from investigators around the world. As a reviewer, his opinion is respected, his viewpoint considered equally as important as that of the scientific experts in the room. He knows that he may influence the funneling of funds for essential translational research that will improve the quality of life for amputees. He has promised to do everything he can to help support this effort because, as he says, “the best advocates are the individuals who have experienced the pain, suffering, rehabilitation process, and the ones that live the amputee life 24/7.”
Last updated Thursday, July 28, 2016