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Support the Warrior Games -Competition for Wounded Military MembersCoral Anika Theill Salem-News.com
- "Our goal is to showcase the value of sports and athletic competition in the rehabilitation of our wounded Marines." - Col. Greg Boyle, Commanding Officer, Wounded Warrior Regiment
(QUANTICO, Va.) - The heart of a hero keeps going in the face of all adversity. The heart of a warrior keeps fighting as long as it keeps beating. Next month, two hundred wounded military service members will be competing in the Inaugural Warrior Games.
They have won my heart and admiration and I am sure will win yours, too. This is an event you can't miss! Here is your chance to meet our country's heroes and celebrate their achievements and greatness. Through their perseverance and determination, they are "still in the fight."
The Inaugural Warrior Games, a sports competition for wounded warriors, is a joint effort by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the U.S. Department of Defense. The Warrior Games will be held May 10-14, 2010, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Two hundred active duty wounded and military veterans will be competing - 100 Army, 50 Marines, 25 Air Force and 25 Navy. Daily highlights of the Warrior Games will be made available online.
The U.S. Olympic Committee is the host for this first time event, and in conjunction with the USOC, is organizing the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. The Opening Ceremony will include a paratrooper from the Golden Knights dropping onto the Olympic Training Center Grounds to officially open the Warrior Games.
Athletes were recruited and selected proportionately from each military service, including the Coast Guard. Medical approval and paperwork were required, as well as organizing the medical needs of each athlete. The Warrior Games are expected to be highly competitive because of the selection process.
Many people have heard nothing about the Warrior Games, but it is an important event worthy of more support and increased attendance. I am concerned about the wounded and injured veterans and often read the Wounded Warrior Regiment Website.
I recently found an announcement for the Warrior Games. Captain Leticia Reyes, Public Affairs Officer for the Wounded Warrior Regiment at Quantico Marine Corps Base, was more than happy to provide information and introduce me to Major Susan Stark and Sgt. Richard Tack, two Marines who have been working tirelessly these past months with recruitment and organization for the games.
U.S. Marine Sgt. Richard Tack, age 23, suffered injuries during his second tour in Iraq. He will be competing in marksmanship and shot put. Presently, he is stationed at Quantico, Virginia.
This past year Sgt. Tack requested to be assigned to the Wounded Warrior Regiment located at the Quantico Marine Corps Base. Major Susan Stark, Injured Marine Advocate for the Wounded Warrior Regiment, said, "Sgt. Tack's work as an administrative assistant has been invaluable." I had the opportunity to attend one of Sgt. Tack's training sessions. Track and field coach, Melissa Tirone, from Mountain View High School, has been training Sgt. Tack these past several weeks. Sgt. Tack's training is demanding: weight lifting Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and shot put training on Tuesday and Thursday.
During his training session Sgt. Tack said, "When I have difficult days, I am encouraged by my friend who is also recovering from injuries sustained in Iraq." His fellow Marine is stationed at Wounded Warrior Regiment West and will also be competing at the Warrior Games in May.
Sgt. Tack is honored and proud to be representing the Marines at the Warrior Games and is looking forward to meeting the athletes and coaches. He shared that the Wounded Warrior Regiment staff is supporting him 100%. There is no question about Sgt. Tack’s enthusiasm for this event. He added, "I want to win."
In my association with the military wounded, and Sgt. Tack is no exception, no matter what their obstacles or injuries may be, they carry on with courage.
Olympic and Paralympics coaches will be assisting the Warrior Game athletes at the training camp at Ft. Carson beginning April 26th - May 9th. U.S. Marine Major Susan Stark is head coach for the fifty wounded Marine athletes competing in the Warrior Games. Major Stark qualified in the triathlon for the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2004 and was a triathlon U.S. National Resident Team Member from 2001 - 2004. In 2007, Major Stark coached the first quadruple amputee in history to attempt to complete a triathlon.
Major Stark believes that the Warrior Games not only help inspire recovery, promote opportunity and achievement, and boost the morale of wounded service members, but the Games also gives them something they are familiar with, i.e., sports. Adaptive sports rehabilitation and competition helps prove to themselves that they can do something they couldn't do before. Training for and competing in the games gives them a goal in their recovery process and helps them find their true potential and abilities.
"Thirty-five Active Duty Marines and 15 Veterans from all parts of the U.S. will be competing at the Warrior Games," said Major Stark. "Every single Marine will be competing in at least one event that they applied for. The majority of athletes competing have lower body impairments, many are double amputees."
Major Stark emphasized, "Yes, they are all warriors, but they are competing as athletes."
In closing, I asked U.S. Marine Sgt. Richard Tack, "What inspires you each day while preparing and training for the Warrior Games?" He answered, without hesitation, in a matter-of-fact booming voice of a seasoned Marine, "BEAT ARMY!" Oorah!
2010 WARRIOR GAMES
Seven Sporting Events: Archery, cycling, wheelchair basketball, shooting, swimming, track & field, and sitting volleyball.
Ultimate Warrior: In addition to the winners in each event, there will be an "Ultimate Warrior" competition in a pentathlon format and service team scoring for a rotating Chairman's Cup. Admission: Free and open to the public
Eligibility: Competition for the wounded, injured and ill service men and women with the following physical disabilities: amputations, spinal cord injuries, post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Organizers:
How you can help: Tell your friends, families and co-workers about the Warrior Games. With your help, I envision the Warrior Games will become a household name, just like the U.S. Olympics and Paralympics. Mark the date, May 10-14th and support the athletes participating in the Warrior Games. You can download and distribute the Warrior Games Poster in your community. Arrival: Our Wounded Warrior Athletes will begin arriving on Monday April 26, for a two week acclimation and training program. Members of the Pikes Peak Detachment of the local Marine Corps League will be on hand to welcome our Athletes as they arrive at the airport and assist them with their luggage and ground transportation to their hotel.
Dinner: Local restaurants in Colorado Springs are hosting a dinner April 27, 2010, at Ft. Carson. The 200 athletes and coaches will be introduced and welcomed at this event.
Pikes Peak Detachment of the Marine Corps League: Garry D. Gibson, Commandant of the local Pikes Peak Detachment of the Marine Corps League, has organized a Wounded Warrior Games 2010 fund raiser in order to assist any financial needs the 15 wounded Marine Veterans participating in the Games may encounter. Donations are still needed for the Wounded Warrior Games Fund.
The Marine Corps League is a nation wide organization. One of it's major programs is for it's members to support injured Marines, this includes financial support. 100% of all funds raised will go toward assisting their maintenance at the Games.
Please mail your donation to:
Wounded Warrior Games 2010
For further information contact Garry D. Gibson, Commandant of the local Pikes Peak Detachment of the Marine Corps League, at (719) 495-9640, or email "The Gunny" Garry Gibson at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am personally inspired by the athletes of the Warrior Games. Besides being heroes, each and every one of you are athletes extraordinaire! The staff at Salem-News.com will be wishing you success at the games and continued healing and strength in the months and years ahead! We hope the Warrior Games draws huge crowds and the applause is deafening. Thank you for your service and sacrifice!
*It was an honor and privilege to meet the staff of the Wounded Warrior Regiment. I was more than impressed with their enthusiasm, passion and commitment for the wounded, ill and injured and the Warrior Games. It is not a surprise that the Wounded Warrior Regiment and Call Center received the DoD "Best Practice" Award, September 2009, by the Department of Defense.
For more information contact:
Master Sgt. James Shiver
*For information about the Wounded Warrior Regiment visit: woundedwarriorregiment.org or call the Sgt. Merlin German Wounded Warrior Call Center toll free at 1.877.487.6299; Assistance is available 24/7.
Their mission is to insure Marines, Marine veterans and their families are supported throughout the phases of recovery at all geographical locations.
Coral Anika Theill, advocate and survivor is author of "BONSHEA: Making Light of the Dark." Her book and articles have encouraged and inspired numerous trauma victims and wounded Marines/soldiers recovering from PTSD. Coral's positive insights as a survivor have also earned the respect of clinical therapists, advocates, attorneys, professors and authors. Coral Theill believes "The Gift of Healing is Our Birthright."
Coral Anika Theill’s published book, BONSHEA, has been used as a college text for nursing students at Linfield College. BONSHEA: Making Light of the Dark is available at: iuniverse.com, barnesandnoble.com or amazon.com. Read 12 five star reviews at: barnesandnoble.com
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