Sgt. Michael Ros had no idea that picking an archery bow out of a catalog several years ago would propel him on the course to being named a recipient of The 2009 American Legion Spirit of Service award. The 38-year-old Desert Storm veteran from Reedsburg, Wis., represented Madigan Army Medical Center and the U.S. Army in receiving the accolade during the American Legion's 91st National Convention Aug. 25, in Louisville, Ky. National American Legion Commander David K. Rehbein, who presented the awards to service members from each service, along with Navy Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. David Petraeus, commander, U.S. Central Command, explained the purpose of the award. "As an organization of wartime veterans we understand and embrace the concept of service to community, state and nation," Rehbein said. "These outstanding military members represent the very finest qualities of America - a steadfast commitment to serve their country and their fellow Americans." Ros received the award for his "countless hours" of volunteer work in establishing a local youth-centered archery program. While going through a divorce a few years ago, Ros used projectile therapy through archery as an emotional release tactic. As his skills progressed and the stress became more relieved, Ros realized he was a good archer. From there, he entered professional competitions, and eventually joined the Skookum Archery Club in Puyallup, Wash., which is part of the National Archery Association. At Skookum, he turned around a struggling Junior Olympic Archery Development Program that trains and teaches children aged 8 to 18 years old how to shoot the bow and understand proper safety procedures. While the class is there for any aspiring young archer, a couple of his students might qualify to shoot in the Olympics one day. "This nation-wide program provides them a stepping stone to the Olympics and gives them a leg up on the competition," said Ros, who works in Madigan's cardiology clinic. Regardless of their Olympic potential, shooting arrows in the backyard or at an archery range provides fun for the entire Family, especially if not everyone is athletically-gifted. If helping kids in the community wasn't enough, Ros also is in the process of developing an archery rehabilitation program for the Fort Lewis Warrior Transition Battalion as an adaptive sports tool to aid Wounded Warriors in their recovery. "Soldiers come back (from war) angry and don't know why," Ros said. "Archery can be a tool to help them channel their negative energy into something more positive." More than teaching children or Soldiers how to shoot a bow and arrow, Ros emphasizes the need to put service above self. "I tell my Soldiers to get involved somewhere, that every little bit helps, no matter what you may think," he said.

Page last updated Fri September 11th, 2009 at 15:00