Wounded Warriors Gain Inspiration From U.S. Paralympic Volleyball Team
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
LONDON , Aug. 30, 2012 Watching the 2012 Paralympic Games today left a group of Europe-based wounded warriors inspired, especially after they were able to meet some of the U.S. athletes.
Army Master Sgt. Major Luckett, left center and Kari Miller, a former Army veteran and member of the 2012 U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Paralympic Team at the University of East London, Aug. 30, 2012. DOD photo by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Soldiers assigned to Warrior Transition Units in Germany, Italy and Belgium, and participating in adaptive reconditioning programs, met the U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Paralympic Team at the University of East London during a trip sponsored by the U.S. Paralympic Committee, the Wounded Warrior Project and Red Cross.
Army Master Sgt. Major Luckett, a food supply noncommissioned officer and 25-year veteran, said he was thrilled during the meet and greet with the athletes.
“I was really excited to get a chance to see the team with their experience,” he said. “They explained their training and we had a chance to meet some of the players. I met [Kari] Miller, a former soldier. It was real exciting.”
Motivation and inspiration were often used by the wounded warriors to describe their feelings during and after meeting the paralympians.
“We get great motivation [from meeting them],” Luckett said. “Going through the type of stuff I’ve been through, and then seeing these individuals with these disabilities perform; it [lets] me know I [only] have a limit [right now]. But I know I can go out and make myself better going into the things I do to train for,” he said. “Things I’ve never done or I stopped doing since I had my injuries.”
Luckett was assigned to the WTU after being plagued by persistent knee and back problems and recently underwent a medical review board with results still pending.
“I had an opportunity to visit several events, and it built my confidence inside [for] what I can do with the injuries that I had,” the Petersburg, Va. native said.
“I had chills going through my body,” he added. “It was great, and I enjoyed it. It’s one of three things that I’ll experience in my life. It was a real big motivator for me. Go USA!”
Army Spc. Maurice Walter, an information systems operator-analyst, and native of Huntsville, Ala., also had the chance to meet the U.S. Paralympic volleyball team.
“I actually met quite a few,” he said. “I met Heather [Erickson] and Kari [Miller]. We have similar injuries so it’s motivating to actually see them out here and to talk to them.”
Walter said he reinjured his leg in Iraq during the course of day-to-day activities. He noted it aggravated a previous injury from an assignment in Korea resulting in his assignment to the WTU.
“I got some great insight from them,” Walter said. “They were telling us to push through no matter what it is, don’t hold back and just get it done. It’s really inspiring to see them,” he said. “Number one, they’re not letting their injuries hold them back from what they want to do.”
Walter said one of the volleyball players told him she grew up playing volleyball, and when she injured her leg she didn’t want to stop. “So she didn’t give up, so it inspires me to do anything that I want to do,” he said.
Although he enjoyed the trip, Walter noted the opportunity to meet the Paralympic volleyball team topped his list of activities during the trip.
“The visit to London was amazing,” he said. “But meeting the volleyball team was the best thing that came out of this trip. Of course, the sights and stuff are great, but meeting these individuals and seeing them – it’s really motivating and inspiring,” Walters said.