Richard Pimentel begins his life as a fighter, and his life's work becomes a process of fighting for the rights of others. Raised by a dysfunctional family with a talent for public speaking and a winning personality, the young man makes his way to a Northwestern college confident that he will ace his try-out for his idol Dr. Ben Padrow. Padrow is the coach of the best team in the history of the College Bowl. But, Dr. Padrow shatters his dream when he rejects him. Richard's immediate reaction is to enlist in the army for a tour of duty in Vietnam. During combat, the young recruit loses his hearing to a bomb blast, and has to deal with this newfound disability. He finds that his disability and the struggle to transcend it is a defining moment in his fight for what he believes in. When he tries to help his friends, vets like himself and others with disabilities, to get work in an environment that treats them with pity at best and disdain as a matter of course, he realizes that he can make a difference. Without his hearing Richard is all the more prepared to listen to the message deep within himself, and to carry that message to the thousands of people whose lives are improved by the movement he helps to organize.