Sgt. Jonathan Alexander: Pushing through the finish line
By Annette P. Gomes, Army Warrior Care and Transition

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Whether its crossing the finish line or scoring the winning goal on a soccer field, U.S. Army Sgt. Jonathan Alexander says he has a passion for sports, but a torn meniscus almost sidelined his once active lifestyle.

"It was kind of depressing because I'm such an active person, but I told myself I'm going to muscle through this. I experienced a few complications, but I kept pushing through," Alexander said.

The Virginia native developed this determination while he recovered at Fort Bragg's Warrior Transition Battalion. Initially, Alexander says he felt apprehensive about his time spent at the WTB, but the experience was a blessing in disguise.

"My initial thought was oh boy, Army mandatory fun, this is going to be a blast," said Alexander. "This is going to be one of the requirements, and I was just going to check the box. Ironically, I ran into a few athletes including Sgt. Brent Sixkiller and Sgt. Aaron Averre who runs the archery range. They each have a passion for several adaptive sports, including my favorite, archery. That kind of passion rubbed off on me a bit. They both got me in the right mindset to keep pushing through. Embracing adaptive sports really helped me out."

Alexander says he began training on a handcycle, embraced a compound bow and the rest as they say, is history.

"I'm here at the Warrior Games, can you believe it," laughed Alexander. "I am extremely excited to be here. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, granted my recovery comes first and the games are second. I might as well do it while I can. This is something I fell in love with, I can actually compete in, and someone actually thought I was good enough to be on the Army team," he continued.

Alexander is one of approximately 300 athletes who are representing teams from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Special Operations Command, United Kingdom Armed Forces, Australian Defence Force, Canadian Armed Forces, Armed Forces of the Netherlands, and the Danish Armed Forces at the 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Tampa, Florida June 21 - 30. Athletes will compete in archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track, field, wheelchair basketball, indoor rowing, powerlifting, and for the first time in Warrior Games history, golf, wheelchair tennis, and wheelchair rugby. He will compete in cycling, archery and swimming events.

This is Alexander's first time participating in the DoD Warrior Games. He says although earning a spot-on Team Army is a dream come true, he walked away with an even bigger prize that cannot be measured in medals.

"It's all about the friendships I've made. I know I will probably stay in contact with them later on. It does not matter if their retiring or transitioning out (of the service) completely. There's a lot good people who have come through the Warrior Transition Battalion and they share my passion for these adaptive reconditioning events. It's awesome," Alexander said.