By Staff Sgt. Kulani LakanariaApril 19, 2015
FORT BLISS, Texas - Timothy Payne, Army veteran and former infantryman, was his last foot-patrol of his unit when a 25 to 35-pound improvised explosive device detonated under him, July 3, 2011, in the Zhary District, Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Staff Sgt. Payne lost both legs in the explosion. He spent more than a year and a half at Walter Reed National Military Medical Hospital in Washington. Eventually, he turned to swimming to aid in his recovery.
"I started swimming probably about a year after I got hurt," said Payne. "It's been extremely monumental to my recovery. As soon as I got out here, they asked what else I wanted to do, so I decided to try the discus. I've been throwing pretty well, so I'm doing swimming and the discus."
The Army Trials at Fort Bliss showcase the resilient spirit of wounded, ill and injured Soldiers and Veterans, and participants include athletes with spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, visual impairments, serious illnesses and amputations. The Army Trials also help determine which athletes will represent Team Army at the Department of Defense sponsored games this summer in Quantico, Virginia.
"In April, I'm going to Boston to do the Boston Marathon," said Payne. "Then in May I'm going to the Virgin Islands, and swimming from beach to beach to beach and June is the actual warrior games."
Payne also uses his faith to help other Soldiers learn from his experiences.
"I've gone through so much to get to the mentality that I have now," said Payne. "It's all been given to me by the man upstairs because he wants me to do good; he wants everybody to do good. I'm just paying it forward."