Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Wounded warriors maintain fighting spirit on the mat at Fort Stewart

Wounded warriors maintain fighting spirit on the mat
Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Widemond
December 16, 2013

Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Widemond
Wounded warrior, Spc. Kristian Cedeno, demonstrates how he is able to fight and help their fellow soldiers during level 2 Army Combatives certification class.

FORT STEWART, Ga. - The Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness program helps to build a soldier’s resiliency so that he can endure and bounce back from whatever situation he may find himself in. The five pillars of strength: social, emotional, family, spiritual, and physical, form an optimal foundation for recovery.

“I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010, and the IED detection dog alerted me. I thought, ‘the IED is between me and the dog’, but when I turned it was right next to me. I don’t remember much except that I was hurt, but I didn’t know what happened until later,” recalls Rick Cicero, a former paratrooper who volunteers much of his time helping others recover.

He had been a military paratrooper and civilian police officer. He was on his second deployment to Afghanistan as a military contractor when he lost both his arm and his leg on his right side. His recovery took place at the Tampa Veteran’s Administration hospital.

“I went from the guy that runs into fires to the guy that’s stuck in a wheelchair—a victim waiting to happen,” he said.

After three years of recovery and coming to the realization that he can still be the guy that runs into fires, he put together an adaptive combatives program and goes around helping wounded warriors on the road to recovery.

“He cares about fellow warriors and their recovery both psychological and physical,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Perry, command sergeant major for 1st Battalion, 306th Infantry Regiment, 188th Infantry Brigade. He lost his leg in Dec 2010 while deployed with 101st Airborne Division. He said that his key to recovery was aligning himself with the right people.
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