Winn Army Community Hospital WTB Soldiers Represent Fort Stewart in 2010 Warrior Game
May 28, 2010
<b>FORT STEWART, Ga. </b>-Approximately 100 Soldiers from the Army, 50 from the Marine Corps, 25 from the Air Force and another 25 from the Coast Guard and Navy participated in the first-ever Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 10-14.
The more than 200 service men and women competed in shooting, swimming, archery, track, discus, shot put, cycling, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball at the Olympic Training Center.
Brigadier General Gary Cheek, the Assistant Surgeon General for Warrior Care and Transition, said the point of the Warrior Games is to have a greater impact in the programs we're running across all the military services in the future - to show Soldiers that their lives are defined by their abilities, not their disabilities.
"Challenging physical activity gives Soldiers a sense of accomplishment, personal pride and a reassurance that there is a lot they can do in life," Brig. Gen. Cheeks said. "We're already looking ahead to add regional and national Army competitions and training events to capitalize on Warrior Games and increase our adaptive sports and physical activity for all of our warriors in transition.
When the flame was extinguished in Colorado Springs at the end of the games, it left Colorado in the hearts of our Warriors to take back to their comrades."
After a 50-mile bike ride in April 2009 with Ride to Recovery, which takes wounded warriors on a 500-mile, cross-country ride, Cheek helped to conceive the competition with Ride to Recovery's founder and a USO representative.
"These games exceeded all my wildest expectations and accomplished exactly what I wanted," Brig. Gen. Cheeks said. "I asked all of our athletes to take the Olympic spirit back with them to their comrades who are also recovering and moving forward and light that spark in them - get their comrades back into life and into physical activity, and other things as well," he said.
WTB Soldiers represent Stewart
Three Soldiers from Winn Army Community Hospital's Warrior Transition Battalion participated in the Warrior Games - Cpl. Ryan Shurtleff, Spc. Christopher Lowe and Staff Sgt. Phillip Fentiman.
Corporal Shurtleff, who medaled twice, receiving a Bronze Medal for Shooting and a Silver Medal as a member of the Army's (Team 3) Sitting Volleyball Team, was injured in an IED blast in the fall of 2009.
Due to injuries sustained to his right hand, the right-handed Cpl. Shurtleff was unable to hold a weapon with his left hand, so three weeks prior to the shooting competition, he went to Fort Benning, Ga. to train and learned how to shoot left-handed.
"This was awesome. I want to go back next year and compete again. I want to compete for as long as I can," he said. "Seeing the single, double and some triple amputees giving their all and having a good time competing was great."
Specialist Lowe placed 7th in Shooting, and Staff Sgt. Fentimen, who walked away with fourth place honors in swimming, said he is already looking forward to competing in next year's games.
"I am especially proud of (Staff Sgt.) Fentimen," said Sgt. 1st Class Roderick White, cadre, WTB. "They all have a lot to be proud of, but I believe (Staff Sgt.) Fentimen would have won multiple medals in swimming if he'd had more time to train for the games. With his age and taking into consideration that he had open heart surgery recently, placing fourth is not too bad."
Lieutenant Colonel Bill Reitemeyer, commander, WTB, said these Soldiers are an inspiration to many.
"Their participation and success during the Warrior Games reflects the highest level of Warrior Pride," Lt. Col. Reitemeyer said. "Because of their level of desire, they were able to overcome any limitations to achieve greatness."