Veteran Staff Sgt. Randi Hobson: Soldier for life
U.S. Army veteran Randi Hobson, from Oklahoma City, Okla., places 2nd after competing in the swimming competition for the 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games at Chicago, Ill., July 8, 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 Pfc. Genesis Gomez)
By Annette P. Gomes, Warrior Care and Transition
For retired Staff Sgt. Randi Hobson, the 2017 DoD Warrior Games is bittersweet. This is her final Warrior Games and after years of competition, Hobson is now looking forward to the future.
“It's time for me to take the next step, which hopefully will be as a mentor or an assistant coach. It feels like the right time; I know the team will be in good hands.”
Hobson’s road to the games began while recovering at the Warrior Transition Unit in Kaiserslautern, Germany in 2009. She battles nerve damage, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries that she sustained while deployed to Ramadi, Iraq. During that time she developed a love for adaptive sports, particularly swimming. Hobson describes the pool as a place of comfort.
“It's just where I've always found peace whether it’s in the water or on top of a mountain. You can be completely surrounded by the world, but feel like the only one in it, even just for a few seconds and that can be beautiful,” Hobson said. “It’s a feeling I want to share with my fellow Soldiers who have been wounded. Some people get tunnel vision after they've been hurt. Adaptive sports and other activities support emotional and physical health of our Soldiers and veterans as they transition and adjust," she added.
Hobson brought home one gold, one silver and one bronze medal in swimming; two bronze medals in track and one silver medal in sitting volleyball during the 2017 Warrior Games. But for the Colorado native, adaptive reconditioning sports brought about more than competition.
“Regardless of someone's injury, disability, or illness, everyone is completely capable of accomplishing greatness. That, coupled with being with my fellow Soldiers, means everything,” Hobson said. “This family isn't one in a traditional sense, but you won't find a better one. The camaraderie, the support, it's unmatched, a feeling of trust felt only by the military itself.”
As the 2017 DoD Warrior Games wrap up, Hobson is ready to get back to a few roles she holds dear, a brand new wife to her husband Richard, mother to her “fur babies” (dogs Max and Larry) and being a volunteer in her community with Team Rubicon, a veteran-based disaster response team.
“You have to keep growing and giving as a person, be better tomorrow than you are today, appreciate and learn from who you were yesterday. It’s just another way of serving my country and giving back to a community that I love. It’s just one of the many lessons you’re taught in the military. – Forever Army Strong!”
In August 2017, Hobson will begin her studies in general education. She hopes to obtain a degree in sports medicine in the future.