By Leanne ThomasMarch 15, 2019
FORT BLISS, Texas -- Staff Sgt. Samuel Daniels made his way back to Army Trials for another round of 'making the team.'
A veteran of Team Army during the 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games, Daniels got his start as an adaptive sports competitor in 2017. He gives credit to the staff at Warrior Transition Battalion-Hawaii for helping him return to duty last year.
"I've grown a lot since first competing at Army Trials," he said. "Not only as an athlete but in other areas of my life."
It was at Warrior Games when Daniels realized how important it is to come together as a team.
"As one of the big dogs this time (at Army Trials) we understand what it takes to build a team," said Daniels, an ammunition specialist at the 325th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division.
The process of building a team starts at Army Trials with camaraderie, support, and a commitment to the group.
"If I'm not the best at an individual sport, let's say - powerlifting, then I'm going to push the best person to the brink, even if they are better than me," said Daniels, a native of Trenton, New Jersey. "I'll tell them, 'I'm coming for you,' but we still have to come together as a team."
With the support of the athletes and coaches at Army Trials, Daniels said, "These competitions have taught me to push myself because you never know what you can do until you try."
Discus and shot put are Daniels' go to sports, but he added new sports to his resume this year: archery, shooting, rowing, and track. He said, "I'm going to give these new sports my all."
In honor of Coach Adriane Wilson who competes in the Highland Games, Daniels sported a kilt during the shot put competition, a part of the sport's longstanding Scottish tradition. Daniels explained, "She is the best coach I have had in years, so I wanted to honor her because she continues to believe in me and pushes me to be great."
After returning from Warrior Games last year, Daniels gained motivation and drive from being a part of the team. With this support, he had the strength and courage to start the next chapter in his life.
"I ended up getting promoted to Staff Sergeant, as well as, reenlisted in the military for another six years," he said.
"I use this same mentality to train and share my story with my Soldiers. I use it to motivate and inspire them to be the best they can be ... not just in the Army, but in other areas of their lives," he added. "Because I've learned that we are all capable of achieving so much more."