PANAMA CITY BEACH - A Georgia man, who now calls Bay County his second home, is being honored for inspiring others. Scott Rigsby lost both legs as the result of a traffic crash when he was just 18 years old.
Rigsby was riding home with some buddies from a landscaping job, when his life changed forever.
Rigsby said, "As we approached this narrow bridge this 18 wheeler clipped our vehicle. I got knocked off the back of the truck, my legs got lodged in between our flatbed trailer tires."
The 18 year old lost one of his legs.
"I went off to college missing my right leg below the knee having the prosthetic leg and my left leg reconstructed," he said.
Through more than 2 dozen surgeries and a decade of doctor visits, Rigsby never give up. His determination led him to a radical decision, having doctors remove his left leg. "I didn't want to be a profession patient anymore and I wanted to get on with my life," he said.
During his recovery, Rigsby visited IPA Prosthetics here in Panama City to be fitted for new high-tech legs. He did his rehab at Healthsouth Emerald Coast Rehabilitation Hospital.
Rigsby said, "Then within six weeks of actually being here I was up and running. So I stayed here in Panama City learning how to walk."
The Hilton family heard about Rigsby's amazing story, and offered him free accommodations at the Holiday Inn.
When he decided to compete in his first triathlon, he returned to the place where it all started.
"I needed to start small and so right here in Panama City was the pebble that caused this big ripple effect," said Rigsby.
Little less than two years later, Rigsby competed in the world championship of triathlons, the Hawaiian Iron Man. "I was the first guy in the world with two prosthetic legs to ever finish that world famous race. It all started here in Panama City Florida."
For his perseverance and inspiration, Panama City Beach Mayor Gayle Oberst presented Rigsby with the key to the city Wednesday.
Oberst said, "We wanted him to feel like he could come back here and count this as his home anytime he wanted to."
Rigsby joked, "I'm glad that I was able to receive it [the key] later in life, earlier I probably would not be responsible with it."
Rigsby started a non-profit to inspire others with loss limbs or mobility. He's dedicated his time to working with wounded warriors and service members, and hopes to start a Wounded Warrior Family Retreat here in Panama City Beach.