The day started with another heart-warming tale of the kindness and generosity of a total stranger to our guys and girls; a group had gone out for food and when they were ready to leave asked for the cheque – only to be told that their entire bill had been paid by someone who was grateful to them for their service. I don’t think that I will ever cease to be amazed by the unwavering, and overwhelming, kindness of the wonderful people of America.
With a fairly relaxed agenda until five o’clock, most of the team decided to take the time to rest up ahead of the hard work that will follow over the next few days. The acclimatisation days that have been built into our itinerary are so important for our injured and ill heroes as they expend so much energy just getting around!
Think back to the last time you took a long flight and had to deal with a very different time zone, I imagine you’re remembering just how tired you were for the first day or two. Now, imagine that you’re missing one, two or three limbs, imagine having a disabling neurological or autoimmune disease or imagine having to cope with a spinal cord injury, well, I’m sure you get the picture!
Even just getting around out here is tiring for our guys and girls; wheeling a chair or walking in a prosthetic is pretty exhausting in 36 degree heat! However, as always, everyone has been so cheerful and no one complains; these guys and girls are simply amazing and a real inspiration to everyone they meet.
This evening marked the start of the formal part of our trip and we started with a brief from the US Air Force guys, who have so kindly organised – and invited us to – this Training and Competition Camp. It was a remarkably inspirational brief, with some wise words being passed on all those taking part. I know that our guys left feeling excited about what was to come, and eager to get stuck into the sport.
After, our guys and girls had a chance to start mingling with, and getting to know, their US counterparts, as the US Air Force’s Wounded Warriors were there en-mass for the brief. The opportunity to head down to the USO for food was taken up by everyone, and, once again, the food on offer was wonderful and tasty. In fact, I’m sure some of our lot went back for 3rds!
Tomorrow the real work begins, and with the busses leaving at 06:30, most will be getting an early night. After all, the opportunity to not only learn from Paralympians in your chosen sport, but to also train, play and compete with your allied brothers in arms is not one that comes along every day. And, let’s face it, who would want to be tired for that?!
If you'd like to support our heroes along their sporting roads to recovery then you can donate to Help for Heroes Sports Recovery. Either, visit http://www.bmycharity.com/h4hsportsrecovery and leave a donation of your choice, or text SPORT to 70900 to donate £5. 100% of the £5 comes to Help for Heroes. (You will be charged £5 plus your standard network rate. Mobile networks helpline: 01494 750 500)