Whiteman Air Force Base- For Olympians Sean Colgan and Dan Beery the road to the Olympics was anything but traditional. In the case of Colgan, the gold that he carries is that of an Olympic Congressional Gold Medal awarded for outstanding accomplishments made in sport, Olympic team and nation, following the boycotting of the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympic Games by the United States.
For Beery, the Olympic gold medal he carried around this historic air force base sharing with airmen today represents not only the highest award given to athletes 'at the games', but like Colgan a life changing experience... one that took place years before his being named to the US Olympic Rowing Teams 8 Man Boat and competitions in Athens, Greece in 2004.
The American300 NEVER QUIT SERIES 'Rowing Challenge Tour' presented by Air Force Global Strike Command shared not only Olympic Medals with Airmen here, but also a story of curve balls, change, confidence in ones self and those around them, conquering in the face of adversity... and commitment to seeing things 'get better'.
For Sean Colgan, that commitment came in the form of rolling up his sleeves and leaning forward after not being allowed to compete in the Olympics. He went on to become a world champion and organizer of two unique 'rematches' after the 1980 Moscow summer Olympic Games with the famed Soviet Union Men's 8 Rowing Team... (USA won both rematches) but more importantly he rallied his teammates together in the effort (the 1980 Men's 8 has been conducting yearly reunions organized by Colgan for over 30 years).
For Dan Beery, the commitment came when as a Division I NCAA scholarship basketball player he wrecked his knee and watched his dream of college and professional basketball drift away, but found himself being asked by the schools rowing coach if he'd like to take up rowing... a sport he'd heard about, but knew little to nothing about. 7 years later, after 5 disappointments in not making the national team... Beery, found himself on the Olympic 8 Man Rowing boat competing in the Olympics... and bringing home Gold for himself and Team USA.
The NEVER QUIT SERIES, for those who have been following along or are new to this combined American300 and Air Force Global Strike Command effort, is about sharing unique stories of perseverance with our Airmen. Whether Olympic Medalists whose paths to success involved negotiating 'rough waters' or climbers, decorated war heroes, adaptive athletes and others... who will visit bases like Whiteman AFB which are a part of Air Force Global Strike Command in the year to come, the message these volunteers are bringing is one of Never Quit!
"Being able to share our medals and stories with these great Americans is such an honor, but what really marks the highlight for me is hearing the stories of duty and sacrifice from the Airmen." said Colgan, adding "My story is certainly unique within the Olympic history books, but the choices I had to make, commitment that my teammates and I made individually and as a team are nothing new to the Airmen I've had the priviledge to meet today... I feel like we're at 'Camp Can Do and I love it."
The Air Force Global Strike Command Rowing Challenge Tour continues this morning here at Whiteman AFB, before packing up the Medals and athletes and heading for F.E. Warren AFB in Wyoming this afternoon. "Breakfast with B2 Bombers....dinner with ICBM's"... the NEVER QUIT SERIES continues...
Look for PHOTOS - and SURVEY at: www.American300.org
For more on Air Force Global Strike Command visit: www.afgsc.af.mil/
The American300 Never Quit Series presented by Air Force Global Strike Command is a year long program designed to enrich the lives of our US Air Force Personnel. No federal endorsement of sponsor or nonprofit is intended. American300 is a US 501(c)3 nonprofit operating as a volunteer effort to increase the resiliency of our service members, their families and the areas of operation that they live and operate in.