Andy Wirth wrote -
Quite a few years ago, I fell in love with skydiving. It remains a real passion for me. But, in October 2013, I had a life changing accident. While effecting a downwind landing I, unintentionally, landed in a vineyard. As you may suspect, a vineyard is not an ideal landing zone. Much preferable is an area not populated by sharp upright posts, wires, and vines.
My right arm was almost completely severed, I had extensive blood loss, and very nearly lost my life. However, with the help and support of my family, friends, occupational therapists and a few remarkably talented surgeons, my arm was reattached and I am not only on the mend, but recovering very well.
My recovery, as most are, has been full of ups and downs. I’m as close as I’ve ever been during this journey to finding normal, as I call it. Training for the Ironman triathlon has been an integral part of my recovery process.
Also integral to my recovery has been a friendship born of an accidental meeting with a group of Navy SEALS training right here at Squaw Valley. In fact, quite a few of them have become good friends and their spirit, counsel and narrative has truly been an important part of my recovery.
This year, in honoring these friends and all of those who have served and currently serve in the US Navy Special Warfare community, I’ve once again assembled a team for the 2015 IRONMAN Lake Tahoe. My team features a good friend who remains competitive cyclist here in California and another good friend from the Navy SEALs, the world's most revered special warfare group.
Our team name is Special Warfare Warrior and our purpose is ultimately to generate support for the Navy SEAL Foundation, a group which provides immediate and ongoing assistance to the Naval Special Warfare Community and its families.
As I’ve worked through my recovery, I’ve often thought of the challenges through which these incredible men and their families navigate. Their stories and courage have most certainly driven me and helped motivate me. From them, I've learned that courage is not when one has the strength to press on; courage is found when, in the absence of strength, one finds a way to advance....to press on.