COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- “There is nothing in life that is too hard to overcome,” this is the motto that Marine Sgt. Kirstie Ennis lives by. This hard charging Marine will help the All-Marine Warrior Games team vie for their first place title against the Army, Navy/Coast Guard, Air Force and SOCOM teams at the Olympic Training Facility and Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 10-16.
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, Calif.
“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. “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’s abilities through athletic competition. “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.”
For more information about the Wounded Warrior Regiment or All-Marine Warrior Games team go to woundedwarriorregiment.org, www.facebook.com/wwr.usmc or call the Sgt. Merlin German Wounded Warrior Call Center at 1 877-487-6299.