Support wounded warriors

Published 9:42 pm Monday, May 13, 2013

Wounded warriors are going to be in the local news a lot this week with events going on.

Army Sgt. Monica Southall, daughter of Suffolk’s Wilbert and Barbara Southall, will be competing in the 2013 Warrior Games this week at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. The event enables wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans to compete in a variety of sports, such as track and field, shooting, swimming, cycling, archery, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball.

Southall, who was injured in Afghanistan in September 2009, will compete in field and sitting volleyball. She has won gold medals in both sports at the games before.


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I’m looking forward to reporting Southall has brought home another gold medal from the games this week. The games are a wonderful opportunity for those who have served our country so well and paid such a high price to find that they still have both physical and mental strength, perseverance and many things to contribute to society.

And coming up this weekend, wounded warriors from all over the country will be at Skydive Suffolk to take part in the annual skydive for wounded service members.

The folks at Skydive Suffolk go out of their way to adjust harnesses to accommodate amputations and other injuries the troops who attend the event have. The free skydives are part of an event that supports Wounded Wear, a company that does clothing modifications for injured service members.

I covered the event last year and can say that it will open the eyes of visitors to the high personal cost of war. Many of the service members who attend have at least one amputation, if not more, and they can tell stories of comrades who never made it back alive at all. Most are willing to share with others at the event who don’t know what it’s like to be in the military, be in Iraq or Afghanistan, or try to make it through the rest of your life with fewer limbs than you had your first 20 or so years.

I hope it also inspires visitors to begin doing more for military members and veterans, even if it’s only to say “thank you” when you see them out and about. Those who have given so much need all the support we can give back.