BEAVERTON, Ore. (NNS) -- Seriously wounded, ill and injured Sailors received a warm welcome Aug. 5 at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, the site of Team Navy's final training camp for the 2014 Warrior Games.
Practice kicked off Aug. 4, and the following day, more than 300 Nike staff and family members gathered at the Steve Prefontaine Hall on the Nike campus to honor the wounded warrior athletes. When the 40 members of Team Navy arrived at the facility, the crowd erupted in cheers.
"I would never have thought two months ago, when I attended the Warrior Trials, that I would be here now," said Navy Seaman La'Mar Linton, who was wounded in combat in 2008. "I've learned that just because of my injury, that doesn't mean that you can't do what you want to do.
"When I was a kid, I wanted to be a pro football player or track star. This program has given me a second chance at a childhood dream," he added.
The weeklong training camp was hosted by Nike Military Veterans and Navy Wounded Warrior (NWW) - Safe Harbor, the Navy's sole wounded warrior support program. Nike Military Veterans is a growing grassroots effort within the company that aims to help veterans find employment, provide support to veteran advocacy groups, and host events like this week's training camp.
"I went to West Point and spent nine years on active duty in the Army as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot," said Tom Cornelius, who helped establish Nike Military Veterans. "I felt that, globally, Nike needed to have a group that recognized military veterans - of all countries."
Cornelius is the director of information security compliance in the Corporate Information Security department at Nike Inc. He was critical to the planning and execution of the training camp, which also included a reception Aug. 7, where the wounded warrior athletes played archery and laser tag, and raced monster trikes alongside Nike staff.
During the camp, the wounded warrior athletes focused on the sports that will be contested during the Warrior Games - archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, and wheelchair basketball. They enjoyed the use of several world-class facilities on the Nike campus, and received thorough instructions from the Team Navy coaching staff during the week.
The fifth annual Warrior Games will take place in less than two months, from Sept. 28 to Oct. 4, in Colorado Springs, Colo. Once again, NWW is sponsoring and facilitating Team Navy's participation in the joint-service competition.
Nineteen members of Team Navy also will represent the U.S. at the inaugural Invictus Games in London Sept. 10-14, which will bring together wounded warrior athletes from around the globe.
"I think what's exciting for me is meeting international warriors, seeing how they relate to their injuries and how they train," said retired Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Jaime Garza, who is competing in both the Warrior Games and Invictus Games. "My wife and son will be coming with me [to London]; it will be our first family trip outside the United States. It's going to be an amazing experience, and will be awesome to see all the people I've been told have bought tickets to see the competitions.
"I'm actually a little nervous about competing in front of so many people, but what an honor. I hope I win!" he added.
Garza, who was injured in a training accident in 2010, will be competing in shot put, discus, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and, possibly, archery at the Invictus Games.
All of the wounded warrior athletes on Team Navy are enrolled in NWW. The team includes active-duty and retired service members with upper-body, lower-body and spinal cord injuries; serious illnesses; traumatic brain injuries; visual impairment; and post-traumatic stress disorder.
To learn more about NWW and adaptive athletics, visit http://safeharbor.navylive.dodlive.mil, call 855-NAVY WWP (628-9997) or email email@example.com. The latest news about Team Navy will be posted on Facebook at www.facebook.com/navysafeharbor.
For more news from Commander, Navy Installations Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/cni/.