JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas --
It is no secret that sporting events are one of the major outlets and resiliency tools for Wounded Warriors. It gives them something to keep their mind busy, provides them something to work towards and gives them a sense of belonging with others who are going through the same difficult times.
The Air Force Wounded Warrior Program has been hosting virtual sporting competitions this summer to help keep the Warriors physically fit and their mind busy, and there has been an amazing turn out for them. With this being a new way forward for the foreseeable future, AFW2 needed to step up their game in how these virtual events are produced and they did just that. The most recent event, Archery and Shooting, has gone international.
“We had an incredible opportunity to help out Team Ukraine earlier this year by providing wheelchair basketball equipment,” said Marsha Gonzales, AFW2 Support Branch Chief. “During the visit we took Invictus and Warrior Games athletes with us for them to share their stories, and all I can say is we walked away with a much greater appreciation and newfound respect for our Ukrainian partners. So, it only made sense to bring them in for this first virtual archery and shooting competition.”
AFW2 and Team Ukraine created such a strong bond, it only made sense to include their Wounded Warriors in our virtual sporting competitions. The Archery and Shooting competition allowed for competitors to video themselves participating in the event of their choosing, on their own time, in their own city and email the footage and results to AFW2 staff. This made it easy for Team Ukraine to compete from overseas.
Oksana Horbach, Team Ukraine organizing manager, was very honored to have her Warriors compete in this virtual event as adaptive sports is something they are still learning. Team Ukraine member, and Invictus Games 2018 competitor, Serhii Shymchak, let AFW2 know that sport competitions have the power to connect athletes and veterans from all nations.
The archery events included shooting ten, or thirty, arrows 20 meters from a Compound or Recurve Bow, and the shooting events were 10 meters with a Standing Rifle and 10 meters from a Prone Rifle or Pistol. The winners will be announced on Friday, July 31 at 10 a.m., on AFW2’s Facebook Page during a live social event. This live event will host Warriors from AFW2 and Team Ukraine with a special message from leadership.
Now that AFW2 has gone international with their virtual services, what will they do next to keep building and strengthening the bond with Wounded Warriors and their families? To know what the future holds, view the AFW2 Facebook page and website, www.woundedwarrior.af.mil, for more information on upcoming events and virtual socials. There you can also refer and Airman, read about the program’s mission and learn about additional services offered to caregivers and families.