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Odd Couple

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Former Yale football player Dick Cooley was 21 when he lost his right arm in a 1944 airplane accident while serving in Belgium during World War II. When he returned to New Haven he could no longer play football but he didn't let his loss stop him from taking up squash and golf.

He bounced back to live the next 63 years of his life without an arm, becoming CEO of Seattle's Seafirst Bank in the 1980s. His outlook on life is inspiring to say the least.

"God decided I wasn't going to die," he recently told Sonia Krishnan of the Seattle Times. "I feel grateful that I'm here. ... You always want to pay that back if you can."

Cooley has given back, befriending Will Guyman, a 16-year-old Seattle boy who experienced a similar loss, losing his right arm in a freak boating accident last year. The 84-year-old war veteran serves as a mentor to the teenager.

"He doesn't need my help," says Cooley. "But there may be some things I can show him that will make his life easier."

To read Sonia Krishnan's story from the Seattle Times, please click here.