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Wounded warriors hope to empower fellow veterans this weekend

Wounded Warrior Project's 'Carry Forward' 5K Nov. 9 in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A special group of wounded warriors is hoping to help make a difference for those suffering with visible and non-visible wounds of war.

Members of Wounded Warrior Project's Adaptive Sports Team have created their own group to take part in WWP's Carry Forward 5K in Jacksonville Nov. 9 -- and they hope you will join them.

During Carry Forward, each participant carries a flag, a weight (from 1 to 100 pounds), or even another person. No matter what is held, it's a show of support for wounded warriors.

REGISTER: Carry Forward Jacksonville on Nov. 9 

Members of the community are invited to take part in the 5K itself or show support by cheering on participants as they make their way along the route.

The 5K begins and ends at Wounded Warrior Project Headquarters at 4899 Belfort Rd. (Check in begins at 7:30 a.m. and the event begins at 8:30 a.m.) The route takes participants out and back along A.C. Skinner Parkway, and The Band Steele will be performing a live concert as they finish.

This is the second year Carry Forward has been held in Jacksonville. Last year, there were 2,243 Carry Forward participants but WWP expects 3,000 to participate this year.

CARRY FORWARD: Jacksonville event details

Jacksonville is the fourth city to host a Carry Forward event this year; San Diego, Nashville, and San Antonio combined for more than 5,000 participants.

Special group of WWP members form team for Carry Forward

One group of local wounded warriors has formed a special team for Carry Forward Jacksonville.  Each warrior has his own story about overcoming significant physical injuries in order to participate in the sporting events they love -- like Carry Forward -- and they want to empower other wounded veterans to do the same.

WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT: Adaptive Sports

Tayden Haile

Navy veteran Tayden Haile was injured from a pipe bomb while serving in Iraq. Today, he copes with PTSD and significant back and knee injuries. 

However, the Orange Park resident participates in the adaptive sports program on a local and national level. His sports include cycling, archery, trap shooting, golf and kayaking.

Tayden says he's excited to participate in Carry Forward Jacksonville with a group of warriors who “live the logo” and will help motivate him through the 5K. 
 
Gabriel George

Navy veteran Gabriel George was injured in a motorcycle accident and now copes with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and right arm salvage.

Gabriel lives in Jacksonville and participates in the adaptive sports program on a local and national level. He takes part in archery, cycling, rowing, swimming, pickleball, sailboat racing, golf and scuba diving was recently selected as one of the 65 competitors to represent the U.S. Department of Defense at the 2020 Invictus Games in The Hauge, Netherlands

Adaptive sports have made a significant impact on Gabriel’s life and says he loves that adaptive sports allow him an opportunity to “live the logo” and motivate others.
 
Charles “Chuck” Miller

Charles "Chuck" Miller served with the U.S. Army Reserve and copes with a visual impairment due to retinitis pigmentosa (RP). 

Chuck participates in the adaptive sports program on a local and national level as well, taking part in archery, goalball, ju-jitsu, wheelchair, cycling, sailboat racing, kayaking, snow-ski and rock climbing.

The Jacksonville resident says adaptive sports empower him to light the way for other wounded warriors. He is a pioneer who works closely with the VA on technology to help others with visual impairments.  

“I thought I wouldn’t survive as a blind person, but I live so much better than when I was sighted,” Chuck said.