Up for any Challenge: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Paul Reifke represents Team Army at DoD Warrior Games
By Joseph Jones, Madigan Army Medical Center Public Affairs
TAMPA Fla -- U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Paul Reifke, currently assigned to the Warrior Transition Battalion, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, is no stranger to adversity and facing tough circumstances. Trained as a 31B Military Policeman, resiliency, self-discipline, and a strong sense of duty are engrained in his way of life.
After suffering injuries, Reifke is now finding new purpose through taking on adaptive sports reconditioning and competition. Adaptive sports and competitions like the Army Trials and the Department of Defense Warrior Games also provide a daily motivator and sense of purpose according to Reifke.
"What this means to me, it gives me a sense of purpose, it gives me meaning as opposed to just hospital visits every day," said Reifke. The U.S. Army has established WTBs similar to Reifke's at major military treatment facilities at 14 military installations.
Reifke's performance during Army Trials did not disappoint. Reifke finished 1st place in the men's 50-meter breaststroke for the 5.5 lower extremity classification; earned a gold medal in the powerlifting event in the 88.01 to 107 kg category; 1st place in cycling, men's recumbent, T2 classification, and 2nd place in the men's seated shot put, 6.0 classification.
"In the Army trials I participated in track and field, discus, shot put, indoor rowing, archery, air rifle, pistol, powerlifting, swimming, cycling and wheelchair racing," recalls Reifke. A versatile athlete by any standard, Reifke's inclusion in Team Army was announced in March of 2019.
This year in the DoD Warrior Games, Reifke is competing in the archery, cycling, field, shooting and swimming events. He is determined to never leave any effort unspent during competition or in life. His outlook is to never give up. "No matter how bad anything looks, never quit," said Reifke.
Warrior Transition Battalions similar to Reifke's are the foundation of the Warrior Care and Transition Program and play an integral role in assisting wounded, ill and injured Soldiers as they recover and overcome. The DoD Warrior Games are a culmination of adaptive sports reconditioning that takes place in the WTBs, in the form of an adaptive sports competition for the athletes selected to participate.
The 2019 DoD Warrior Games will run from June 21-30 in Tampa Bay, Florida. The athletes participating in the competition are comprised of wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans representing the United States Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Special Operations Command. Athletes from the United Kingdom Armed Forces, Australian Defence Force, Canadian Armed Forces, Royal Armed Forces of the Netherlands, and the Danish Armed Forces are also competing in this year's DoD Warrior Games.
For more information about the 2019 DoD Warrior Games visit: https://dodwarriorgames.com