FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (WKRG) — Anthony Luciano, 39, an Army Green Beret at Eglin Air Force Base 7th group, is showing true grit after suffering paralyzing injuries in 2022.

Anthony’s sister Samantha told WKRG News 5 about the tragic accident on the last Sunday in April.

“He was helping clear trees off of the buddy’s property. The last one of the day when it came down, it twisted. Anthony and the two other guys were running safety and it came directly down on Anthony,” said Samantha.

Anthony suffered two brain contusions, a cervical impingement, is paralyzed from the neck down suffering a burst fracture at T9, a collapsed lung, a hole in his diaphragm and a femoral head fracture.

“Most men would have never walked away from that,” said Samantha. But she said Anthony is not like most men.

The husband and father of three has served in the Army for 17 years. Luciano is a Purple Heart recipient, a Bronze Star recipient with multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan totaling more than 30 months in action as well as deployments in other parts of the world. 

Samthan said Anthony was given a grim diagnosis, being told he’d most likely never get to walk or play with his sons again. After multiple surgeries and treatments, Luciano has proven those doctors wrong.

“Overall, he’s healed as far as no more additional surgeries are needed or anything like that,” said Samantha. “He spent seven months at Shepherd’s Spinal Center in Atlanta and then came home to Florida in November. With the help of Daniel West, who’s one of the therapists that we’re working with virtually, Anthony, within seven days of working with him after being at Shepherd, which is one of the top-rated spinal care facilities in the country, was able to start taking steps.”

Anthony’s wife Emily was four months pregnant at the time of the accident, making the last year more difficult than just raising a newborn.

Luciano’s treatments are not covered by insurance. Samantha started a gofundme to help pay for Anthony’s path to health. She said overall she hopes to share Anthony’s story to inspire others.

“Prayers are number 1. And then just sharing the story is another huge part because we want to try to give hope to people that are in similar situations. I mean, here’s a man who is given a 0% chance of walking and he’s taking steps. Just the pure grit and all of that,” said Samantha. “He’s made huge strides. Every doctor that sees him is amazed. We’re going to do everything and use every possible resource to get him back to where he was and be able to play with his boys again.