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Just Living the Dream Co-Authors
Missy Berling was born and raised in western Wisconsin. She graduated from Holmen High School in 1996. Missy studied Management Information Systems and Business Communications at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire and graduated with her Bachelor's degree in 2001.
Missy worked in retail management prior to my plane crash and quit her job in order to help me through recovery. She always loved books but never imagined writing one that focused on part of her own life. Missy loves reading, crocheting, traveling, and scrapbooking our adventures.
I was born in Idaho and grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Holmen, Wisconsin. I played soccer as a young boy and developed a passion for tennis during my middle school years. In 1998, I graduated from Holmen High School where I lettered in tennis and participated in show choir. I studied at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, double majoring in Finance and Economics. I graduated after three and a half years in 2001.
I commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force in December 2002 after completing a one-year ROTC program at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. I began my career in the Air Force as a member of the 56 Contracting Squadron at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Arizona. While on active duty, I went back to school and received my Master's degree (MBA) from Webster University. I also earned my Private Pilot's License and Instrument Rating during this time in preparation for applying to military pilot training.
A month before leaving for ENJJPT (Euro-Nato Joint Jet Pilot Training), Melissa and I eloped to Hawaii.
On April 29, 2007, I was involved in a private plane crash. I medically retired from the Air Force exactly two years after the crash, worked full-time as a civilian contracting officer at Luke Air Force Base for five and a half years, and am an advocate for fellow amputees. I currently live in Avondale, Arizona, where I train full-time on my handcycle in hopes of someday making the US National and Paralympic Team. In my free time, I enjoy flying, working out, and shooting.
2018 U.S. Paralympics Paracycling National Team Member
2017 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships South Africa, 8th (time trial), 7th (road race)
2017 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup Netherlands, 4th (time trial), 8th (road race)
2017 USA Cycling Para-cycling Road Nationals, 1st (time trial), 2nd (road race)
2017 Arizona State Road Race champion
2017 Air Force Marathon winner and new record
2016 USA Cycling Para-cycling Road Nationals, 1st (criterium), 2nd (time trial), 2nd (road race)
2016 Air Force Marathon winner and new record
2015 USA Cycling Para-cycling Road Nationals, 3rd (time trial)
2015 Arizona State Individual Time Trial champion
2015 Air Force Marathon winner
Kim Berling was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and raised in Waukesha and Milwaukee. Kim graduated high school from Waukesha South Campus and attended University of Wisconsin - Waukesha, where he met and eventually married his college sweetheart Mary Salentine. Following certification from Herzing Institutes, Kim embarked on a career in Data Processing that took Kim and his family to jobs all across the country.
Along the way Kim graduated from ISU with double majors in Finance and Management Information Systems. His longest work tenure has been in La Crosse, Wisconsin, working for Trane. Mary wanted to "put down some roots" and La Crosse turned out to be an excellent small college town to raise a family.
It wasn't until my accident that Kim and Mary considered moving out of Wisconsin. Eventually, the decision was made to follow me to Phoenix, Arizona, where Mary and he could be of some help to Missy and me. Now, they share the same neighborhood and continue to share their lives on a daily basis.