U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Kirstie Ennis with Wounded Warrior West, from Milton, Fla., practice cycling during the 2013 All-Marine Warrior Games team training camp on Fort Carson, in Colorado Springs, Colo. She will compete at the 2013 Warrior Games presented by Deloitte, May 11-16.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — With the start of the Warrior Games presented by Deloitte one week from today, U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Kirstie Ennis offers these words to her fellow competitors: “There is nothing in life that is too hard to overcome.”
Ennis, a 6199 aerial gunner, was in a tragic helicopter crash in June 2012. “We were flying through Azad Afghanistan when we encountered a couple of complications and we ended up crashing,” said Ennis.
She was eventually evacuated to Landsthul, Germany, then Walter Reed Army Medical Center, now Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and finally Balboa Naval Medical Center in San Diego.
“Upon the crash I broke three of the cervical discs in my spine, broke bones in my face, lost all my teeth, my jaw, had a replaced shoulder and a left leg limb salvage,” said Ennis.
To date Ennis has had over 15 surgeries to correct the injuries that she sustained in the crash, but none of that slows her down. She continues to tell herself and newly injured Marines, “your injuries or illness may be unfortunate; however, you can handle it. You have come this far and yet you are still here. There is nothing you can’t handle.”
She pays tribute to her doctors, family, and fellow wounded warriors for her swift recovery.
“We all know that we need each other, and we all are there to help each other and make sure that everyone progresses in their recovery,” said Ennis on the support of her fellow Marines at the All-Marine Warrior Games training camp. The Marines arrived in Colorado two weeks prior to the Games in order to acclimate to the area.
Ennis will compete in cycling and swimming during the 2013 Warrior Games, which is May 11-16 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“I am very competitive. I feed off of everybody else’s emotions. To see everyone else working hard makes me want to work just as hard.”
The Warrior Games is an annual event to elevate wounded, ill and injured service member and veteran’s abilities through athletic competition. Deloitte is the presenting sponsor of the six-day event, which is also supported by the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, USO, Fisher House Foundation, AT&T, BP, Budweiser and the Semper Fi Fund.
“It is a great way to raise awareness of the wounded warriors, instill healthy competition between the branches, empower all of us, instill teamwork and unit cohesion,” said Ennis.
“It is absolutely amazing to be here. We all need each other. We all thrive, empower, and motivate each other. Without the guys on my left and right, female as well, I would not be here.”