“Warrior Games lets me keep serving,” says Soldier for Life, Retired Soldier Army Athlete

Lt. Col Wenceslao Angulo, Communications Director, U.S. Army Soldier for Life

Retired Staff Sgt. Randi Gavell is no stranger to Warrior Games. She was a member of the inaugural Army team in 2010’s competitions, bringing home two gold medals in swimming and a silver in sitting volleyball.

Warrior Games Booths

Warrior Games is a Department of Defense-wide event featuring eight sporting events with approximately 250 athletes representing teams from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy/Coast Guard, Air Force, U.S. Special Operations Command, and the British Armed Forces. The games highlight the resiliency and warrior spirit of wounded, ill and injured service members and Veterans. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Soldier for Life/released)

Gavell first discovered her passion for swimming and other sports while recovering at the Warrior Transition Unit in Kaiserslautern, Germany in 2009. “Being in the water is where I find my peace,” she said. Competing in the Warrior Games takes that peaceful feeling a step further, bringing a sense of camaraderie to wounded, ill and injured Soldiers and Veterans.

Five years later, Gavell is back to compete.

“Some people get tunnel vision after they’re hurt,” said Gavell. Adaptive sports and other activities support emotional and physical health and well-being, and help Soldiers and Veterans as they transition either back to the force or to civilian status. “Life now may be different than it used to be, but don’t give up on yourself. You can still accomplish things,” she added.

Gavell continues to serve in her community, taking all of the skills she learned in the military and applying them in her work as a member of a Veteran-based disaster response team. She volunteers as much as possible, and is working to obtain her degree as an Occupational Therapy Assistant to help others on their road to recovery.

“If you’ve been out for a day, a year, a decade, you miss the camaraderie. This helps remember a part of your life you feel like you’ve lost,” said Gavell, of what it means to compete in this year’s event. “Warrior Games lets me keep serving.”