Staff Sgt. Dorian Rhoten: A force (of positivity) to be reckoned with

By Whitney Delbridge Nichels, Warrior Care and Transition

ARLINGTON, Va. - When you meet Staff Sgt. Dorian Rhoten, there's a sense of calm that surrounds him.

The 40-year-old father of three has a unique ability to make others feel at ease with his bright smile, jovial demeanor and can-do attitude.

"I get my personality from gratefulness," Rhoten said, and that personality was on full display at the 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

It's hard to believe years ago, Rhoten was the exact opposite.

"I was a selfish person. It was about me," Rhoten said. "Being in the Army, I saw there were people in way worse situations than me. I had to learn that if you live selfish, you'll die selfish. Selfish means alone. I didn't want that. I want everyone to be loved. That's why I'm so happy."

But don't let his dancing and clowning around fool you. When he steps onto the field of play, Rhoten is about business.

He proved that, every time he called Team Army into a huddle to get everyone pumped up, and, with every medal he collected.

"I smile and speak to every competitor. I hug them and I high five them. You are not my enemy," Rhoten said. "But when I compete, I am here to dominate. I'm happy for you, but you better be watching for me. "

Despite the pain he feels from multiple knee injuries and sciatic nerve issues, Rhoten never took a day off from motivating his teammates. Whether he was competing or not, Rhoten's booming voice could be heard on the sidelines at each event.

This is one of the many reasons Rhoten was chosen to be a Team Army Co-Captain.

"That tells me my teammates and coaches and all of the leadership have confidence in me," Rhoten said. "I have shown every single one of them I believe in them and I trust them and I will give 100 percent to everything I do to make them proud."

Staff Sgt. Altermese Kendrick, who first met Rhoten at the 2018 Army Trials, says his spirit is infectious.

"His motivation is what feeds my motivation," Kendrick says. "He loves everybody, he loves the Army, but he loves competing. When it's go time, he plans on winning."

Rhoten credits his experience in the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Hood, Texas with helping him stayed focused and succeed.

"Warrior Care and Transition has helped me. That's how I got here, because people believed in me. You don't have to be the best athlete. Just believe you're going to have fun," Rhoten said.