Altermese Kendrick: Army Strong

WTU Force Structure U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Altermese Kendrick finishes the cycling event for the 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games at Chicago, Ill., July 6, 2017. The DOD Warrior Games are an annual event allowing wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans in Paralympic-style sports including archery, cycling, field, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and wheelchair basketball. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Fransico Isreal)

By Annette P. Gomes Warrior Care and Transition

She goes by the moniker still-smiling.

Chaplain Assistant's Staff Sgt. Altermese Kendrick would come to lean on her positive attitude, spiritual faith and calm demeanor after a right hip injury and persistent pain in her back derailed her once active lifestyle. During an Army Physical Fitness Test, she suffered an extensive labrum tear, hip surgery would soon follow with intense back pain felt on a daily basis.

"My ability to move quickly was gone and I had to give up going to the gym. I was an avid athlete all my life, a black belt in martial arts, a kickboxing instructor and boxing agility coach, you name it I did it. My PT was a simple warm up," Kendrick laughed.

As she healed at Fort Sam Houston's Warrior Transition Battalion, adaptive reconditioning sports became an essential part of her life.

"I have never attempted sports such as cycling and shot-put, but what I learned about these type of sports is that it is about keeping the mental and spiritual well-being strong so it will trickle down to the body," she said.

Those characteristics would prove beneficial as the Mississippi native competed in cycling, shot-put and discus at the 2017 DoD Warrior Games in Chicago as a first time participant.

"It is an overwhelming experience that I truly can't describe. The competition was beyond anything I ever expected. The camaraderie and the support from the coaches, my teammate was paramount,” she said.

Kendrick won a gold medal in shot put and cycling while garnering silver in the discus.

“I’m ready for the 2018 Games, I'm training now. The coaches are already giving me sound advice. Being injured isn't being weak, but training while I was injured showcases strength and resilience. I love to serve my country and will continue to do so. Forever Army Strong."