Schofield Barracks, Hawaii - More than 100 wounded warrior competitors and spectators from across the Pacific region gathered at Weyand Field, on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii for the opening ceremonies of the Tripler Army Medical Center Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB), Pacific Regional Trials Nov. 6, 2017.
This is the first time that Hawaii has hosted trials for the Pacific region. Having the trials in Hawaii will boost competition and provide an opportunity to bring together the region's competitors.
The guest speaker for the opening ceremony wished the competitors well and stressed the power of resilience.
"As a wounded warrior myself, I know how important confidence and competition is to recovery," said Maj. Ray O'donnell, Assistant Professor of Military Science for the Army ROTC program at the University of Hawaii, was the guest speaker for the opening ceremonies.
O'donnell was wounded 10 years ago. His left leg is paralyzed from the knee down and he has four plates and 28 screws in his hip. He said the wounded warrior games gave him confidence and that confidence helped him in every avenue of his recovery.
"You are never going to be completely healed," O'donnell said. "It is a journey. I live with pain and challenges every day, but I have to keep things in perspective. We have to keep things in perspective and we have to do that daily because we are human. I know we all have bad days, we are human, but we have to find things to be grateful for. You have to remind yourself that it could always be worse."
O'donnell ended his speech by wishing the teams luck and he had a final message to the competitors that will go on to compete in the games, "Go Army, beat everybody!"
The opening ceremonies kicked off the week long competitions that will include archery; cycling; track; field; shooting; sitting volleyball; swimming; and wheelchair basketball Nov. 6-10.