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Montana veteran takes first steps in three years

Posted at 9:33 AM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 11:33:50-04

BILLINGS- — U.S. Navy and Vietnam War veteran Don Nafts took his first steps in three years earlier this week.

Shortly after being diagnosed with infections in both of his feet in 2018, both of Nafts' legs had to be amputated just below the knee. These amputations were only two months apart.

“For three years, I just wanted to walk. That was my main goal,” says Nafts, a Billings resident.

Nafts was able to take his first steps and hasn’t stopped since. He does physical therapy at the Adaptive Performance Center on Broadwater Avenue in Billings five days a week for roughly one hour a day. He also meets with a separate physical therapist once a week for an hour.

At 71 years old, Nafts says an hour a day is about all he can manage. Since he started rehab, he’s slept better than he has in the last three years.

“All he wants to do is walk. He just wants to walk, so to see him be able to do that again was pretty emotional. There was a few tears there, so I'm pretty happy for him,” says Nadine Nafts, Don's wife.

Nafts says his ultimate goal would be to drive his 1923 T bucket again, but he’ll settle for just being able to ride in it.

The road to recovery has been long and hard, but Nafts says “I’ve always had faith, and I'm not going to stop.”