The Air Force Services Agency recently announced that Charleston native Stacy Pearsall has been selected to attend the training and selection camp Feb. 7-11 in San Antonio, Texas. Only 25 athletes are selected from active duty or retired Air Force personnel each year.
Pearsall participated in the inaugural event in 2010, earning her team one silver and two bronze medals. The 2011 Warrior Games will be held at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., from May 16-21.
"I'm incredibly excited to be part of the Warrior Games again this year," says Pearsall. "A moment I will never forget from last year's event was watching a blind and double leg-amputee Marine swim the full length of the Olympic-sized swimming pool twice. The crowd erupted as he made the last few strokes to the finish line. It didn't matter whether he came in first or last. What mattered is that he finished. Even more importantly, that he had the strength to try."
Pearsall served nearly 12 years in the Air Force as a combat photographer. She had multiple combat tours, two in Iraq. Direct roadside bomb detonations in 2004 and 2007 left her neck wounded and vulnerable to further damage. In late spring 2007, she was severely wounded during an ambush and medically evacuated for immediate care.
Unable to recover fully from the damage to her neck and subsequent traumatic brain injury, Pearsall was retired from service in August 2008.
After retirement, she purchased the Charleston Center for Photography on upper King Street, where she teaches aspiring photographers. She continues to photograph projects all over the world and recently launched a permanent exhibition at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. The exhibit features 88 black-and-white portraits of veterans and is displayed in the main hall.
The 2011 Warrior Games is an Olympic-style competition open to the combat wounded military and veterans. Approximately 200 warriors from all branches of service will compete in the 2011 games. Athletes will compete in such events as archery, cycling, wheelchair basketball, shooting, swimming, seated volleyball and track and field.
Pearsall's events are rifle shooting, standing and prone, track and seated volleyball.
The Warrior Games are developed through the partnership among the United States Olympic Committee, Department of Defense and various sponsors.