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Les Kienbaum

Most Valuable Commuter November 2011
Employer: WA State Department of Transportation

For 13 years, Les Kienbaum, Transportation Engineer for Washington State Department of Transportation, has been walking to work daily. Living 41/2 blocks away, it just made sense to walk to work. He enjoyed walking so much, Les added 5 miles to his walk every day. Unfortunately, about three years ago, Les was in a horrible ATV accident and the doctors didn’t think he would walk again. Crushing his hip, hip socket, pelvis and pelvis girdle, in addition to 7 ribs broken in 14 different places, a punctured lung and many other broken bones throughout his body, miraculously the doctors were able to rebuild his hip and through determination and intense physical therapy, he began walking again.

With chronic pain and many challenges to overcome, Les continues to walk to work daily. He has learned to maintain an even balance to help with the pain. With icy sidewalks and snow berms in the winter, Les takes his time navigating his walk and also wears studs on his boots for additional traction. With a positive outlook, Les believes it’s better to do something than nothing. “Although it takes me longer, walking is good for me, good for the environment and good for traffic,” Les simply stated. “If everyone does a little to help a whole lot of problems would go away.”

ETC, Jana Augenstine says “Les shines, because he not only understands that his commute choice makes a difference, he continues to use it even though it can be very difficult for him.” Way to Go Les!