Local Airman competes in Warrior Games
By Christopher Calkins, 45th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 18, 2012
Patrick AFB, Fla. -- It was March 14, 2009, and Air Force Staff Sgt. Kevin Taylor was enjoying some leave time here on the Space Coast.
Then a member of the 53rd Combat Communications Squadron, Warner-Robins AFB, Ga., Kevin was here in his hometown of Satellite Beach to celebrate his brother's wedding.
Life was good.
Then, in a flash of a second, he was involved in a vehicle accident and suffered severe injuries, including a Traumatic Brain Injury.
His plans for the future - serving 30 years in the Air Force and retiring as a Chief Master Sgt - were over in the blink of an eye.
Devastated by his injuries, and disappointed in where his life was taking him, Kevin suddenly found himself getting involved in the Warrior Games Program late last year.
The Air Force allowed him to attend an "Adaptive Sports Introductory Camp" in California, where Kevin realized he could do more than he ever imagined.
Then last week, Kevin was a member of the Air Force Team that participated in the Warrior Games held in Colorado Spring, Colo.
That fact was not lost - or was the least bit surprising -- to Tomas I. Fredricks, Air Force Recovery Care Coordinator for Wounded, Ill, and Injured, Florida Peninsula Region, where he has an office located in the 45th Medical Group's Health Clinic.
"It's clear how participating in Adaptive Sports has helped injured service men and women regain confidence in their abilities as they master new events, in many cases sports they hadn't tried before," Mr. Fredricks said.
"The Warrior Games are about rehabilitation through sport. The most important payoff of this multi-organizational effort is that each and every Service Member realizes 'I am able; I am capable.' Most will point to their Warrior Games experience as the ignition point," he said.
For Kevin, that's certainly been the case.
He was able to compete in four events for the Air Force, winning bronze medals in wheel chair basketball and sitting volleyball. He also took a 4th place in Archery and competed in the Air Pistol competition ("Don't ask," he said with a smile).
The team medaled in volleyball and wheelchair basketball for the first time. Athletes representing the Air Force earned two silver and one gold medal in swimming, two silver and one bronze in cycling; and two gold, three silver and four bronze in track and field. It was the Air Force's best showing ever.
"Being a part of the Warrior Games has put excitement and fulfillment back in my life again," Kevin said. "It made me want to work out, eat right. I missed being part of a team; there was a big gap in my life when I was medically discharged from the Air Force," said the 2003 graduate of Satellite High, who enlisted in January, 2004.
"I know I am no longer "technically" in the Air Force, but I wanted to do everything I could do to represent the service that I love, and plan to do it again next year," he said with a booming smile.
"Life is good."