By Andy Sheehan

WEIRTON, W. Va. (KDKA) – National Steel’s Weirton plant once employed 20,000 steelworkers.

Now under the Arcelor-Mittal Corp., there’s at only 1,000 left.

One survivor is “Dead-Eye” Dan Kelly — so named for being born sightless in one eye. He’s a survivor in every sense of the word.

He is still working in the mill despite being crushed in a roller six years ago.

“I saw my maker that day,” he recalled.

But after recovering from a broken nose, broken cheek bones and a half dozen cracked ribs, Dan was back to his original love of running.

He began training for his 20th marathon when misfortune called again.

“I had my stroke on May 8, 2007, almost a year apart, then I had the bicycle accident.”

Unable to run after a stroke, he tried to bicycle to Washington, D.C. and ended up in a crash that broke his arm in a hundred pieces.

“I just keep bouncing back,” he said.

“Every day when you wake up, it’s your choice – what kind of day you’re going to have and what you want to do.”

Hope came to Dan in the form of a Rhodesian Ridgeback named Murphy who’s allowed him to once again to pursue that elusive 20th marathon.

“I thought I would never be able to achieve my goal. Then I got this dog about four years ago and I started walking with him and come to find out this dog is built to walk.”

Come Sunday, Dan will compete in the Dick’s Sporting Goods City of Pittsburgh Marathon — having gotten special dispensation to have Murphy in the race.

He’ll need to complete each mile in less than 13 minutes and 42 seconds to avoid the sweeper truck.

“I won’t be last,” he said.

But even if he is, he’ll still be a winner for triumphing over all he’s endured.

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