Recovery Through Sport
Made up of more than 600 service members who qualify for our assistance, Team Semper Fi is the heart and inspiration of the Semper Fi Fund's rehabilitative Athletic Program, and is an extension of the assistance we provide.
The idea for Team Semper Fi was inspired by those wounded Marines and Sailors who refused to let their challenges prevent them from competing in athletic events, and whose drive and determination was inspirational to us all.
The team is made up of servicemen and women who have overcome significant challenges in their service to our country, and have embraced the fighting, athletic spirit on their road to recovery. They are an inspiration to us all but, more importantly, they are an inspiration to their fellow service members who are also traveling down the road to recovery.
We provide our team with coaches, specialized sporting equipment, entry fees, and travel expenses to athletic events. Team members are also given the opportunity to receive high-level training from former and current Olympic and Paralympic athletes through a partnership with U.S. Paralympics! Grant funding for this program is awarded by U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee, through funding provided by Veterans Affairs. The grants are provided to facilitate the growth of Paralympic-sport programming for disabled Veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces.
LATEST TSF NEWS:
Meet our Team Semper Fi Parlympic members competing in Sochi!
On March 7—Fisht Olympic Stadium, in Sochi Russia, will play host to a second opening ceremony: that of the XI Paralympic Winter Games, a 10-day celebration of athleticism and competitive spirit like none other. Competitors in 10 disability categories will compete in five events: alpine skiing (which includes two snowboarding events), biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sled hockey and wheelchair curling.
The Semper Fi Fund is proud and honored to be represented on the largest athletic stage in the world by an incredible array of Team Semper Fi athletes. These remarkable men—all of whom made incredible sacrifices proudly wearing the uniform of our nation’s military—will be competing in the Paralympics wearing a very different uniform, that of Team USA. Click here for the rest of the article.
Team Semper Fi Has more than 100 athletes in 2013 Marine Corps Marathon!
The Semper Fi Fund will have over 1000 runners and hand cyclists in this year's the 38th Annual Marine Corps Marathon, making it the largest charity partner for the fourth year in a row. Among this group of competitors are over 100 members of Team Semper Fi!
Here are a couple of TSF athletes participating this year:
Justin Widhalm, (Army, retired, Team Semper Fi) Rio Paralympic Hopeful in Cycling
As a young man from rural Nebraska and son of a career soldier, Justin dreamed of joining the Army. But during his second deployment in Iraq, on a night mission in the summer of 2006, everything changed for Justin when he was flung out of a helicopter from 30 feet in the air and landed in a concrete irrigation canal. Upon impact, he broke both of his feet, dislocated both of his knees, and broke his back in three places.
Recovery has been arduous for Justin, entailing numerous surgeries, physical therapy, psychiatric therapies, cognitive therapy and speech therapy, and he has struggled with PTSD and TBI. But he has also gained a new appreciation for life, thanks to a tremendous support system and his “warrior spirit,” and today he is a U.S. Paralympic hopeful in biathlon and track cycling. Retired from the Army, he now works at his “dream job,” as a motivational speaker. “People say, ‘dreams don't come true,” said Justin, “but I am living proof that they do.
Jose R. Ramos (Navy, retired, Team Semper Fi) Ironman Championship Hopeful
Jose R. Ramos, a Navy Hospital Corpsman who lost his left arm in Iraq back in 2004. Because of his medical training, Jose immediately knew that his injury would most likely result in amputation; but this understanding couldn’t fully prepare him for what lay ahead.
A self-described “happy-go-lucky” kind of guy, Jose would soon face mental and physical challenges. Apart from high school athletics and recreational sports growing up, Jose wasn’t really as involved with athletics until he joined the military, and it was only after his injury that he got serious about competing. Four months after he lost his arm Jose completed a marathon, and set his mind to qualifying for the Ironman World Championship. It was around the same time that he became a part of the Team Semper Fi community, which had a tremendous impact on him.
The skills he honed and drew upon in his athletic endeavors carried over into all aspects of his life: “When you're able to overcome those kinds of challenges, you forget that you don't have an arm, making it easier to overcome other barriers you might face,” said Jose. He’s proud to run for Semper Fi Fund at this year’s Marine Corps Marathon.
Team Semper Fi Qualifies for the Para Cycling World Champions!
* SSgt Jeffrey Scott Martin (TBI/PTSD)
* LCDR Steven Peace (Stroke/right side paralysis) and TSF Mentor
* Lcpl Jon Copsey (TSF Mentor)
Several Team Semper Fi Athletes competed at the US National Championships in Madison, Wisconsin for spots on Team USA in June, 2013:
* Steven Peace (*2012 Paralympian)
* Jeffrey Scott Martin
* Jon Copsey
* Justin Widhalm
* Zach Linhardt
* Beth Hope
A big shout-out to two Team Semper Fi Fund athletes who performed well at Nationals but did not make the World Championship team: SFC Justin Widhalm (TBI/PTSD) and Sgt Zach Linhardt (TBI). They are both working hard and itching for another shot at it.
Team Semper Fi Qualifies for the Paratriathlon World Champions!
USA Triathlon just announced who will be representing Team USA at next month's Paratriathlon World Championships in London England. Team Semper Fi athletes:
*HMC Jose Ramos (left arm amputee) and finished 4th place at the US National Championships
*Sgt Allen Young (GSW left shoulder) and finished 5th place at the US National Championships
*MAA3 Nathan DeWalt (SCI) and finished 9th place at the US National Championships
All competed at the US National Championships in Austin Texas in May to earn their spots on Team USA in London.
It is time for the 2nd Annual Drive for Heroes Golf Classic!
The 2nd annual Drive for Heroes Golf Classic is in need of your support! We are looking for corporate sponsors and individual entries to support Team Semper Fi (TSF) and its athletes. There will be 20 injured and critically ill member of TSF attending, and you will have the opportunity to play a round of golf with these amazing men and women. The event will take place at the Cheyenne Mountain resort in Colorado Springs, CO,– one of the state's most scenic and challenging courses! Show your support through cash or auction item donations, and/or sponsorship. Click here to download the sponsorship package. We look forward to seeing you on the course!
Date: July 19, 2013
Location: The Country Club of Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO.
Purpose: To raise funds for the Semper Fi Fund's athletic program, Team Semper Fi.
For more information or to register, please contact Casey Fisher at 760-213-8066 or by email.
Warrior Games, May 2013
More than 200 athletes – men and women, active duty and veteran – traveled to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO for the 2013 Warrior Games on May 11-18, 2013. The Semper Fi Fund was proud to be a sponsor of the Warrior Games, and also a sponsor of the family program to make sure the athletes had family members watching and cheering throughout the competition.
There were five American teams: Army, Marine Corps, Navy/Coast Guard, Air Force, and Special Operations. The U.K. team also competed at the games for their second year. It was a special treat this year to have Prince Harry help kick off the first two days of competition! The Marine Corps band and silent drill team wowed the audience and helped to make the opening ceremony the best to date.
The competitions covered seven sports: archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, and wheelchair basketball. After fierce competition throughout the entire week, the Marines took home the Chairman's Cup for the fourth year in a row!
Visit the TSF Facebook page to see pictures from the weeklong competition!
Team Semper Fi takes on Cowboy Challenge, April 2013
The Semper Fi Fund's Team Semper Fi – "Recovery Through Sport" program – took on the Cowboy Challenge once again on Saturday, April 6th.
Read the full story and share in the memories made at this amazing event!
Team Semper Fi competes in the 2013 Marine Corps Trials
The 2013 Marine Corps Trials 2013 are being held at Camp Pendleton, CA from February 27 – March 7, 2013. This year nearly 300 wounded, ill, and injured Marines and allied service members are participating in the trials, including athletes from Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Of course your veteran US Marines and Marines from Wounded Warrior Battalions East and West are also at Camp Pendleton competing for a spot on the All-Marine Team that will represent the US Marine Corps at the Warrior Games in May.
These trials are being run buy the Wounded Warrior Regiment, and they provide opportunities for our injured and critically ill service members to participate in multiple sporting events. Team Semper Fi athletes have already claimed four of the available six medals! Please visit the Wounded Warrior Regiment website further more information on the trials.
Check out the Team Semper Fi Facebook page for updates on the games, and to see more photos of the events.
Team Semper Fi Big Mountain Alpine Camp, Park City, UT
Fifty active-duty and veteran wounded warriors from beginner to advanced ability levels participated in the Team Semper Fi 3rd Annual Winter Sport Camp, hosted by the National Ability Center, January 18 – 20. These athletes honed their skills for three days at Park City Mountain Resort with some of the best adaptive coaches in the country. Attendance included four athletes on mono skis – adaptive skis for athletes with either spinal cord injuries or leg amputations – one athlete, single above-the-knee amputee, using outrigger skis, and many more.
The Semper Fi Fund is proud and honored that an amazing group of coaches joined Team Semper Fi for the weekend:
Ray Watkins – US Paralympics National Team Coach
Jeff Inouye – Breckinridge CO Adaptive Ski Director
Monte Meier – 5 time US Paralympian
Mike Morse – 2010 US Olympian
And various ski/snowboard instructors from the National Ability Center
Our Team Semper Fi members say it best in their own words:
Just wanted to thank you guys and the team again. This program has the ability to change lives and you guys are driving the machine. Thanks for a fantastic getaway and its always too short. God Bless!!! – SSgt Adam Wagner
I just wanted to thank you for allowing me to join the team at that great event! You guys are awesome for giving me the opportunity to do so! It's definitely a great way for PTSD & other problems for me to help release stress. You guys do a great service for us. – Lcpl Antonio Rivera
Special thanks to all those who dedicated their time and efforts to make the Team Semper Fi 3rd Annual Winter Sport Camp possible. Thank you for another amazing weekend of rehabilitation through sport!
Mission Redefined: Encouraging Veterans with physical disabilities to take on sports
The Semper Fi Fund is proud to have paratriathlete Michael Johnston on Team Semper Fi!
By Doug Williams | U.S. Paralympics | www.teamusa.org | January 15, 2013
Michael Johnston is a paratriathlete with hopes of competing in the sport’s Paralympic Games debut in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
But he is also part of another mission: He’s trying to encourage fellow Veterans and members of the Armed Forces with physical disabilities to get involved in sports to help open doors to new activities, enrich their lives and get them moving forward.
The “Mission Redefined” campaign, a joint effort by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Paralympics, released a 30-second public service announcement today that features Johnston sprinting down a track.
Johnston says it’s a campaign he’s proud to be a part of, and believes it’s necessary to help disabled Veterans see what’s possible.