By Annette P. GomesJune 27, 2019
A family united.... Blessings and lessons from a warrior parent
By Annette P. Gomes, Army Warrior Care and Transition
TAMPA, Fla. -- Seated 15 rows back center stage at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida on June 22, 2019, Tim and Wendy Kane were glued to the 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games opening ceremony. Their son, U.S. Army Sgt. Tanner Kane is participating in the Games. The event highlights adapted reconditioning sports, a competition for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans.
"It was Incredible. The event was a blessing for the Soldiers, their families and those who came out from the local Tampa area and the leadership from Washington. In addition to this, I was impressed with the four leaders of the individual branches of the military, the mayor and Jon Stewart's word of encouragement and inspiration for the Soldiers and the Warrior Games. This was amazing," said Tim Kane.
The Kane family's blessing, Tanner (one of five children) arrived 25 years ago. Tim Kane said he knew his son was special.
"Tanner had a goal to be a Soldier and to do it with all of his heart, soul and mind. He excels in every area he attempts. He looked at all the other branches and decided to join the Army, specifically the Infantry because he wanted to be 'boots on the ground' and wanted to have an impact in whatever he was asked to do," said Kane.
Tanner enlisted before he graduated from high school, left for basic training in August 2012, graduated on December 12, 2012 and deployed to Korea in January of 2013. Four years later he was diagnosed with Osteoarthritis - a degenerative disease which causes breakdown of the articular cartilage and architectural changes in the bone. Tanner will have surgery on July 8, 2019 to replace both jaw joints and have his upper jaw cut and lowered to correct his bite after rescheduling three times.
"For the first three months in the WTB (Warrior Transition Battalion) his Mother and I were beyond concerned. His pain was so intense that the only way for him to get a good night sleep was pain pills and even then, those didn't always work and often he couldn't go to sleep until he was completely exhausted from the pain. When he was first placed in the medical unit, he lost his sense of purpose, it seemed like he felt as if he was useless and put on the shelf. He played a lot of video games and lost his drive to do the activities he did prior to the injury," Tim Kane said.
"Tanner had a goal to be a Soldier and to do it with all of his heart, soul and mind. He had excelled in every area attempted and then to be tagged "shut-down," was difficult. It was even harder to learn that his unit was deploying just after he was moved to the medical unit and he would not be able to go," he added.
A physical, mental and emotional change would emerge as Tanner became involved with adaptive reconditioning sports including; cycling, running, swimming, weight lifting, golf, and wheelchair basketball at the Fort Carson Warrior Transition Battalion.
"Adaptive reconditioning sports gave me a new goal, renewed sense of purpose and something to work towards to as I adjusted to my becoming a new kind of athlete," said Tanner Kane.
"Adaptive sports allowed Tanner to get outside of his comfort zone and go out of his way to start a conversation and simply listen to why others were where they are both physically and mentally.
He realized that he could give back to others just by participating in what they are able to do. Tanner realized his former state was wasting away at his spirit and this program was here to help and aid other Soldiers on their progress to healing. I recall one individual who has become a friend from playing golf. Struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, he realized Tanner could relate to his circumstances. Tanner is 100 percent all in whatever he does, he always has been, and he fully embraced where the Lord had and has him," Kane said.
"I played sports throughout high school and being in the Warrior Transition Unit helped me continue to be athletic in spite of my injuries while helping me relieve stress. Making it to the Warrior Games was an obtainable goal. This is an incredible program for athletes that are injured whether it's extreme or not, it's needed for a variety of reasons. Human beings need a purpose, a fight, a reason to work. Warrior Games gives us these things. We need this," said Tanner Kane.
Tim Kane said it was his family's faith and trust in God's plan that got them through this uncertain time. The biggest blessing comes from watching his son help others while sharing his (Tanner) journey.
"We have been blessed to meet amazing men and women this week. To get to know them, their families and about their journey that brought them to the DoD Warrior Games was an unexpected blessing for us. "My favorite motto is: You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want." This comes from Philippians 2:3-4 "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind consider other people more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.""