By MaryTherese Griffin, Army Warrior Care and TransitionJune 11, 2019
Motivating my brother
By MaryTherese Griffin, Army Warrior Care and Transition
ARLINGTON, Va. -Retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ross Alewine and retired U.S. Army Capt. Tim Bomke at first glance are an unlikely pair. They are from opposite sides of the country, have a 13 year age difference and different personalities. However, the two share a unique, yet unfortunate, bond that they completely embrace. Bomke and Alewine were both injured during combat deployments. Their injuries and subsequent recovery led them to the world of adaptive sports and now they are representing Team Army for the second year in a row at the Department of Defense Warrior Games.
While adaptive sports may be what brought them together, it's the common ground of life after injury that has helped forge their friendship.
"We offer each other advice in all aspects of life. The biggest thing is we encourage each other. My brother, Tim, keeps me grounded. He lets me know to let a bad play on the field go and keep pounding. Come back tomorrow and give it your all," says Alewine, who retired last summer after recovering from multiple injuries sustained over several deployments at the Warrior Transition Unit, Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
Bomke gets the same help and encouragement from Alewine.
"We both have our strong suits and I appreciate the advice Ross have given me, especially in shot put, but definitely in life. As we have become friends over the past year, I've shared my experience after leaving the Army and transitioning into civilian life," said Bomke who retired in 2008 after being injured in 2005 by an improvised explosive device blast in Northern Iraq, resulting in the loss of his right leg below the knee.
The two retirees competed together at the 2018 DoD Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colorado and then went on to compete with Team U.S. at the Invictus Games that fall in Sydney, Australia. Every mile they have traveled and the experience they shared have helped them learn how they complement each other.
"I am always amazed by Ross' drive, determination and energy. It's infectious when you're near him and it motivates me to win. I think we are a good combo in that sense, I keep more of an even keel with quiet confidence and that balances well with Ross' energy and passion," said Bomke.
Bomke, 43, has been medically retired for more than 10 years and continues to set goals to better himself. "For me, I like to say it's never too late to jump in. Since setting goals last year, I have lost 25 pounds and I'm in better shape than I ever could have imagined after I was wounded."
The two friends will join their Team Army teammates in Tampa, Florida 21-30 June to take on the other services and teams from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Netherlands and United Kingdom. They are excited to compete together again, but the respect they have for each other goes far beyond the competition.
"Tim is an outstanding man. A great husband and father and I have the utmost respect for him. As an athlete, Tim always amazes me by what he accomplishes and no one really sees how hard that man works and what he puts into training. The man is a beast and one of the hardest workers in the room, besides me," Alewine says with a laugh. "I have and continue to learn from him. He has taught me patience and how to stay focused. We learn from and motivate each other."