By Staff Sgt. Brent C. PowellMay 13, 2013
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Army News Service, May 12, 2013) -- Challenges, regardless of their source, are a constant part of life. The ability to overcome challenges is a special talent that few possess, and at which even fewer excel.
One of the select few who know all about overcoming challenges is Spc. Quinton Picone, a 23-year-old infantryman, assigned to the Warrior Transition Unit, or WTU, at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He is one of nearly 200 wounded, injured or ill service members who are competing here at the fourth annual Warrior Games, May 11-16.
The Warrior Games showcases former and current Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen's abilities in seven sporting events including: archery, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair basketball and track and field events. This year also marks the first time the United Kingdom has a team competing.
Picone's journey to the games began nearly two years ago, and during that time, he had to overcome physical and mental challenges that could easily break the will of most.
In late November 2011 while serving as an active-duty infantryman in Afghanistan, he stepped on an improvised explosive device. Although he survived the explosion, it left him with both legs amputated and injuries to his right hand.
"That day changed me as a person," Picone said. "It really made me upset, but eventually I figured out that I can still do a lot of things that I did before my injuries, I just have to do them differently now."
Picone admits that to get where he is today took a lot of support along the way.
"There are several things that have helped me get through the tough times," he said. "The support of my family and friends really made a difference for me; they have helped me to get back out there and feel normal again. The people I have met during my recovery process have also been very supportive."
One of those who helped Picone cope along the way is a friend who is also recovering from extensive injuries at the WTU.
"My buddy is a big inspiration to me," he said. "He is a lot worse off, but he has a great attitude; he is a lot of fun to be around and most of all he does not let his injuries hold him back."
Picone is not holding anything back when it comes to competing in the Warrior Games this year. He is competing in three of the seven events: swimming, track and field, and sitting volleyball. Along the way, he is earning the respect of his teammates.
"He is a quiet professional, but he is very aggressive once he sets a goal for himself," said Lt. Col. Daniel Dudek, the deputy chief of staff for the Warrior Transition Command and a teammate of Picone. "He doesn't talk a lot, but when he does I listen to what he has to say."
Picone does seem to have a quiet and reserved nature, but is willing to give some advice to those who may face challenges of their own.
"Things may seem bad, but trust me it can always be worse," he said. "Be thankful for what you have and never give up. Make the best of the situation you can and know that you are strong enough to get through it."