By BG Gary H. Cheek
On Saturday, I was excited to learn that AW2 Veteran Andy Soule had won the bronze medal in the men’s sitting 2.4km pursuit biathlon – America’s first medal of the 2010 Paralympic Games and America’s first ever medal in Paralympic biathlon. Andy finished 5th in the qualifying heat, but his perseverance and determination helped him pull through and win the bronze.
Andy volunteered to serve in the Army after 9/11, and he deployed to Afghanistan through Operation Enduring Freedom. He lost both his legs due to an IED [improvised explosive device] explosion. As he recovered, Andy realized the importance of staying active and quickly hit the slopes to learn how to ski.
“Sports have been absolutely fantastic for me,” said Andy in an interview immediately following the race, “for making me active and giving me something positive to do. I’m happy and this is a dream come true. For anyone facing a disability, life goes on and there’s still plenty of living to do.”
Andy’s success story is an example for all wounded warriors, not just on the slopes of Whistler Olympic Park, but throughout his recovery and transition. He decided to keep moving forward with his life, and look at him now.
Way to represent the Army, Andy! And good luck to you and your four other Veteran teammates competing this week.