Disabled Marine heals with automotive work

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SAN DIEGO — Marine Cpl. Timothy Read, who lost a leg in Afghanistan and has been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder , is applying some Rustoleum to a new drive shaft for his prized 2003 Mustang Mach 1.

Marine Cpl. Tim Read struggles to tighten a bolt beneath his car at a hobby shop garage in San Diego. (Don Bartletti, Los Angeles Times)

Marine Cpl. Tim Read struggles to tighten a bolt beneath his car at a hobby shop garage in San Diego. (Don Bartletti, Los Angeles Times)

It’s more than just a hobby. Working on cars and motorcycles, Read said, fills the aching void in his life left when his war wounds stripped him of the ability to be a combat Marine.

“My hands are meant to be dirty,” he said. “I’m meant to be busting my knuckles, doing a man’s work.”

With other injured Marines, Read souped up a custom-made motorcycle for last summer’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota.

Next month, he’ll travel to Peru to be a ride-along mechanic for a Land Rover Discovery for a team of wounded U.S. and British military personnel during the 6,000-mile Dakar Rally. The team is sponsored by an organization called Race2Recovery, supported by the royal family.

And when he’s not busy in San Diego at therapy appointments or other things, Read spends time working on his car at the auto center at the Marine boot camp. Other wounded Marines are doing the same on their cars.

Read more of Tony Perry’s story at latimes.com.

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