Surrounded by members of the 24th Air Force cyber commands 'IT Top Guns' it was business as usual, with the slight exception that this little known group of cyber warriors had their commanding General, Major General Vautrinot rubbing shoulders with them and the celebrity amputees, Crittenden a cancer survivor and first ever CBS Survivor Show Adaptive Contestant and Mike Schultz, the world's greatest extreme sport MotoX and SnoX racer... it was business as usual.
"Major General Vautrinot has been one of our nonprofits senior advisers ever since we started producing these unique motivational resiliency themed tours for the DoD." said Rob Powers, founder of the non profit's 'Warrior Tours', adding " Having 'Zan' come out today and do PT with our guests and her team really put the icing on this tours final day."
Between stretches and warm up drills Powers would throw out a question or two... "how many of you have ever gone for a run with an amputee?" (no hands) "well we're gonna put and end to that here in a few moments" he responded. As though on cue, the Command Chief Master Sergeant and other Senior Noncommissioned Officers announced the runs start and double column formation... the next thing everyone new Chad Crittenden and a group of speedsters had set the pace up front. " ... this was a golf course years back... now it's the best maze of paved running trails on base." said an airmen.
What once was reserved for golf carts was now home to 20 of our countries finest, running in formation with an amputee helping set the pace at the head of the left column. "This is awesome, I've been a CBS Survivor fan for years... never thought I'd be doing Physical Training with one of the finalists... let alone the shows first amputee." shared a Staff Sergeant to Powers, who was running aside the group capturing video footage.
After 25 minutes the group had circled back to the covered athletic complex, were Mike Schultz broke into a conversation about how he had lost his leg, and instead of quiting instead chose to build his own unique extreme sport 'MotoKnee' which resulted in his being able to resume with MotoX and SnoX racing on a national stage.
"Chad was flying... you'd never know he was missing a leg" said one Airmen after the mornings 4km run "... he kicked my butt up the last hill."
Kicking Butt... was in many ways the American300 Warrior Tour teams goal this final day of the nonprofits first ever CONUS (USA) tour. With 4 states and 5 bases visited the connections that had been created spanned from North Dakata to Texas with stops in Montana and Kentucky. "We met Army, Air Force, Marines and even a few Sailors" said Crittenden, the son of a retired USMC Lt Colonel. "I've got so many wonderful memories and new friendships born out of simply picking up and going out on the road with American300... it's just perfect." he added.
From Cyber Warriors to hospital beds, wounded warriors to care givers... Flight Lines to Family Readiness Centers, the NEVER QUIT Tour has shared two amazing American's with America's Heroes during a time of year when duty so often comes before family time. "My daughters are coming down in a few days." said Daniel, a US Army Soldier and recent amputeewho rested in his hospital bed with his wife sitting next to him. All in the room could see the heart felt connection that was developing between the American300 guests and the family. "We're just lucky... all he lost was his right leg... below the knee, we're going to get through this... " added his wife.
Shaking his head in wonderment, Chad shared, "I'm a 9 year post cancer amputee, I've spent hundreds of hours mentoring and talking with amputees all around the country, Daniel's attitude and total outlook is the most dynamic and positive that I've ever witnessed." said Crittenden to a hospital room full of guests.. " .. dude you are amazing, you're the most positive wounded warrior that I've ever met."
With the holiday season in full swing, all of us at American300 want to remind our service members that 'Wingmen and Battle Buddies... ' are how we best get through 'the season... "holidays always bring out the best... and unfortunately sometimes the worse, we've all just got to stick together... pull 360's and make sure everyone around us is doing alright" says Powers, "If every one's doing it .. then all of our 'fields of support' are covered."
It's way past 2100 and the playing of Taps here on Lackland Air Force Base, in a few hours Chad and Mike and Robi will be headed home. Showcasing Chad and Mike has been an honor and privilege for American300, each gave of their time and completely focused on troop resiliency messaging, many times for 20 hours a day. We're forever in debt to each of them and their families for volunteering and supporting our effort to: 'Increase the Resiliency of our Troops, Their Families and the Communities in which they Live and Operate In.'
Next Up- Ski4Yellow Troop Tour, featuring Olympians and the Ski4Yellow Livestrong Team, US Army Headquarters Camp Zama Japan... late Jan2012.
Learn more about the nonprofit at: www.American300.org
Check out our NEVER QUIT Holiday Troop Tour Guests at:
Chad Crittenden - www.survivorchad.com
'Monster' Mike Schultz- www.monstermike.com
The Tours Continue....