Skip to Content

My.Army.Mil. Learn more about your Army media. How you like it.

Fort Hood Press Center
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: June 4, 2013 11:42:45 AM CDT

479th FA Soldiers, Family members volunteer at Austin triathlon

 

Master Sgt. Matthew Lord, acting command sergeant major of 2nd Battalion, 381st Regiment, 479th Field Artillery Brigade, Division West, carries a paratriathlete to her wheelchair during the Capital of Texas Triathlon in Austin, Texas, May 27. Helping athletes get from Lady Bird Lake to their wheelchairs was just one of the many responsibilities tackled by “Dragon Strike” Soldiers and Family who volunteered for the event. (Photo by Capt. William Brown, 2nd Battalion, 381st Regiment, 479th Field Artillery Brigade, Division West)

 

By Capt. William Brown, 2nd Battalion, 381st Regiment, 479th Field Artillery Brigade, Division West

AUSTIN, Texas — Soldiers and Family members of 2nd Battalion, 381st Regiment, 479th Field Artillery Brigade, Division West, volunteered at the Capital of Texas Triathlon held here May 27. 

The annual event attracted more than 3,000 participants from all over the world. 

The triathlon consisted of sprint and Olympic distance competitions, starting with a cool dip in Lady Bird Lake, followed by a bike ride through the streets of downtown Austin, past the Capitol and University of Texas campus, and ending with a fierce foot race that concluded with the cheers of screaming spectators. 

“Dragon Strike” Soldiers and Family members volunteered in various locations throughout the race. Some helped quench the thirst of athletes as they crossed the finish line, while others helped athletes remove their wetsuits as they transitioned from the swim to the cycling portion of the race.

Several other Soldiers and Family members assisted paratriathletes throughout the day. 

In the U.S.A. Paratriathlon National Championship division of the race, athletes competed not just for the national championship, but also the opportunity to be part of the first-ever United States paratriathlon team that will compete in the Paralympic Games in 2016.

While all the paratriathletes have unique and amazing stories about their journeys to the national championship, many of them are wounded warriors or first responders injured in the line of duty. 

No matter how they were injured, their stories share common themes: resilience, courage and strength in the midst of adversity.

The crowd roared as Melissa Stockwell crossed the finish line, securing first place in the Paratriathlon Class II Category of the national championship.

Stockwell is an Iraq war veteran who lost her leg in 2004 while leading a convoy in Baghdad. She swam for the United States at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, is on the board of directors for the Wounded Warrior Project, and is the co-founder of the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club, a paratriathlon training program that works with athletes with disabilities.

Jamal Sarhani, a “Dragon Strike” Family member, assisted paratriathlete Howie Sanborn, an Army Ranger who was paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident. Despite the demands of the race, Sanborn took time to mentor Sarhani, a cadet in the University of Texas-San Antonio Army ROTC program, and aspiring Ranger. 

“What an amazing opportunity it was to volunteer at this event,” Sarhani said. “Howie helped me way more than I helped him. He taught me the importance of being positive in the midst of incredible hardship.”

For more information contact:
First Army Division West Public Affairs
First Army Division West
(254) 553-5003
Fort Hood, TX 76544
[email protected]