What Happens When the Heart of a Warrior Sets His Mind to Healing
Brooke Army Medical Center Program
During the early weeks of the Summer 10 Week Kayak Fishing Program, a young solider named “Quinn” came to check out the program. Quinn was a Westerner and had been around paddle sports before joining the Army. As I was introduced to him for the first time, the Recreational Therapist from BAMC said that Quinn had gotten out of an electric wheel chair and directly into the van on his way to the program, his first steps outside the hospital. This was to be a first for all of us.
Quinn was introduced to me as having Poly-trauma to his spine and neck. I still hate the sound of that word. Quinn was weak and had little strength in his legs, so we carried him down the hill to a kayak and launched him into the Guadalupe River. The Recreational Therapist and I stayed very close, asking about his comfort in the kayak and determining his ability to navigate the waters. We were headed up stream for a short distance and planned to float back down. Without reservation, Quinn was on the water and we began to see the best thing we could do was keep a close eye on him, but give the young man some space. This was the first time he had been out of the hospital since his injuries and you could see the pain was being covered over by the smile. This was just the beginning of his experience.
Over the next several weeks, Quinn asked more questions about the local waters and fishing tactics and took a real interest in kayak fishing. His strength grew and his ability to help others began to be overwhelming. By the end of the summer, Quinn was a regular at the program on Thursdays and was handling all the chores of boating on his own, helping out others when he could, and carrying paddles or stowing fishing gear. It’s a wonderful thing to see what is possible when the heart of a warrior sets his mind to healing. I am proud beyond description to have had a small part in this man healing process.
Heroes on the Water
Southeast Texas Chapter Coordinator
BAMC Program Coordinator 2011
Volunteer Since 2008