By BG Darryl A. Williams, WTC Commander
Throughout my more than 25 years in the Army, I have met some amazing Soldiers—many of whom have an equally impressive spouse supporting them. Today, I want to introduce to you one remarkable couple, retired SSG Shilo and Kathreyn Harris.
Each one, in their own right, truly embodies “Army Strong”:
- On February, 19, 2007, during his second deployment to Iraq, the vehicle SSG Harris was traveling in was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED), killing three Soldiers, wounding the driver, and leaving SSG Harris with third degree burns on 35% of his body. Due to the severity of his burns, SSG Harris lost his ears, tip of his nose, three fingers, and he sustained fractures to his left collar bone and C-7 vertebrae. Of his experience he states, “I actually consider myself a stronger person now, a better person because I don’t take so much for granted. I feel like I’m a better father, I feel like I’m a better role model for my Family because of the things that I’ve pushed myself to do and accomplished. And, other Soldiers have that. They have it. All they have to do is tap into it and use it.” Since retiring, Shilo became an Outreach Coordinator for the Wounded Warrior Project.
- So that Shilo could recover at home, Kathreyn became Shilo’s primary caregiver spending up to six hours a day on his wound care. Additionally, she was mom to their daughter and stepmom to his three sons. During his recovery, she became an Advocate for the Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2) to support other wounded warriors at Brooke Army Medical Center. She explains, “We both try to give back to the community, to give back to the military community as well as the civilian community, and help bring awareness to not just people injured like Shilo physically but the ones that are mentally injured as well.”
Shilo and Kathreyn are not unlike most of the 8,000 severely wounded, ill, or injured Soldiers, Veterans, and Families the Army supports through our Warrior Care and Transition Program. They each have a story to tell, a story of resilience.
I encourage you to take time and get to know Shilo and Kathreyn either in person, or through the new video “Warriors in Transition: A Story of Resilience,” Warrior Transition Command created. Once you have, I am confident they will either change or reinforce your perspective on service to country, marital strength, and overcoming adversity. This video is them, in their own words. Their fear, pain, fights, tears, counseling, accomplishments, and joys. This nine-part, 30-minute video covers their injury and evacuation, medical treatment, marital challenges, coping with children, emotional recovery, and future goals. They left nothing out.