Wellness without comes from within
By Staff Sgt. Torey Griffith, 11th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 03, 2013
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- When a group of more than 30 Air Force Wounded Warriors came here to learn to overcome their various challenges and play sports they love, Team Andrews ambassadors responded in their typical no-fail fashion.
1st Lt. Seth Gunn, 11th Logistics Readiness Squadron assistant operations officer, was one of those ambassadors who worked behind the scenes to make it all happen.
"I was the Wing's POC, so I did a lot of work before-hand with the gym, archery range and pool and so on, so we were ready to host these important Air Force guests," Gunn said. "We all worked to bring the pieces came together."
His work didn't stop with the preparation, he said.
"On day one, I was running around making sure everyone was getting where they were going and had what they needed," Gunn said after closing ceremonies. "On day two, I got involved in playing the sports and got a glimpse of what they're going through to adapt. It was difficult, learning to do something familiar in a new way."
Gunn said he was moved by these inspirational Airmen. Not so much by how they overcame their physical challenges, which was no small feat, but by their positive attitudes.
"In the beginning, we were all a little apprehensive to talk to one another," he said. "As the day went on, you could tell people were starting to share."
But it wasn't all war stories. In fact, not every Airman there was injured overseas, and some didn't appear to be injured at all as they dealt with internal complications. What they shared was a common experience of adapting to their new way of life; coming to the realization that their lives may be different, but they are far from over.
"They weren't focused on the injuries; they were focused on understanding the person," Gunn said. "Now, it's like everybody's been friends for 10 years. You can see how it's impacted their self-esteem.
While the camp may focus on the physical aspect of adaptation, the core of each warrior's wellness comes from within.
"They've gotten rid of the 'can't' and now they have a 'can-do' attitude," Gunn said. "We had just finished doing yoga and we were trying to organize a basketball game - at first they were like apprehensive, but suddenly it clicked and they were like, 'let's play! Let's just go out there and do it!'"
Gunn described what impacted him the most during the camp in one word.
"Perseverance. Whether it's a physical disability or an emotional disability, you have to carry on - make it through. Don't let anything stop you."