I don’t know John Kremer. Never met him. Sure wish I had his drive and determination, though. Wish I had his guts. Maybe I’d be king of something or, at the very least, earning a better living. Found this in my inbox this morning, from the Navy Office of Community Outreach:
Good morning! Please consider this opportunity to share a great story about Buford, Ga., native Petty Officer John Kremer with the story below and photo attached. He is currently competing in the 2014 Invictus games in London. The Invictus games are a sporting event for wounded, injured and sick service members inspired by the American Wounded Warrior Games. The event will feature teams from 13 nations including the U.S. For more information about the Invictus games, please visit: http://invictusgames.org.
So, I’ve considered the opportunity and I think Mr. Kremer’s story is definitely worth these pixels and a lot more. The note in my inbox goes on to say:
Retired Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (EOD) 1st Class John Kremer, from Buford, Ga., grew up on Whidbey Island – which is home to a large naval air station – and sometimes would hop on his bike with friends to watch EOD Sailors train. He would hear explosions and see the service members parachute into the water, and he was hooked; he knew he wanted to join the Navy one day. Kremer is married to Gabrielle, and they have a daughter, Adalyn. Kremer enlisted in the Navy in 2003, about a year after he graduated high school. After multiple tours, he was injured while deployed with EOD Mobile Unit 1 in September 2010, after stepping on a land mine. He lost his right foot and part of his left foot, and he suffered additional shrapnel injuries. After his injury, he was enrolled in Navy Wounded Warrior — Safe Harbor, the Navy and Coast Guard’s support program for seriously wounded, ill and injured service members and their families.
See, that’s where I would have given up. Well, let’s go back a little further. I wouldn’t have been in a war zone to begin with. Not a soldier, never have been, never wanted to be, so let’s get that part out of the way. But if I had been, if I’d suffered injuries like Kremer, I’d have thrown in the towel and retired to the couch with my trusty remote, a bag of pretzels and lots of beer, or something stronger. Not this guy. To wit:
Kremer always has been active in sports – before his injury, he enjoyed wrestling – and adaptive athletics has been critical to his recovery. He currently is trying to earn a spot on the U.S. Paralympic Biathlon team. He won a gold medal in shooting at the 2013 Warrior Games, and the Navy wheelchair basketball team also picked up a bronze medal during the competition. Kremer has been selected to compete on the U.S. team headed to London for the inaugural Invictus Games, an adaptive athletics event for wounded warriors from 14 countries. The event will take place Sept. 10-14, and he will participate in sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball.
I think Mr. Kremer and all of his fellow athletes in the Invictus Games are incredible people, superhumans who are certainly inspirational. But I’m not sure if I’m inspired as much as I am in awe. I’d like to meet Mr. Kremer one day, maybe thank him for his service or applaud his courage or do something else that would probably just embarrass the dude, who just wants to do what comes natural to him. More than likely, I’d just shake his hand and fumble for the right words and hope that a little of whatever he has rubs off on me.