Following the tragic events in September when SFC Howie Sanborn, one of our own, was hit by a distracted driver and left paralyzed, our Team’s dynamic had the potential to dwindle. However, illustrating the true character and quality of American Soldiers that are selected to represent today’s Army on the Golden Knights, plans were set in motion.
When SFC Sanborn began his recovery, his spark and character left lasting impressions with the Missouri University Health Care’s Trauma Team. From the surgeon and former Army Ranger who saved his life, Dr. Chris Nelson M.D., to the countless staff and nurses, he became a patient they would never forget. Additionally, their staff also became permanent members of our Golden Knight family. While Sanborn was busy, forcing physical therapists to come up with new and more challenging tasks, MU Health Care and the Golden Knights began working to plan a public demonstration of mutual respect, gratitude and honor between the two organizations and to SFC Sanborn, as well.
University of Missouri, “Mizzou,” was scheduled to have their final home game against Syracuse on November 17th. What better way to show our appreciation for saving the life of Black Team’s Team Leader, than to do what we do best; We performed a nighttime pyrotechnic jump into Mizzou’s Stadium.
Not only did we perform for their entire community, but SFC Sanborn demonstrated his incredible determination and efforts towards always bettering himself and never letting a physical challenge hold him back. He proved wrong, the many doubts others may have had for him, and with the aid of braces and a walker, he waited on the 50 yard line for his Team to join him. He waited there on his feet- Standing, in front of thousands.
Saturday November 17th, was an emotional day for Black Team. For many, this was their first time seeing SFC Sanborn since before his accident. They’ve had to follow his progress via updates, photos and videos. However, on Saturday they got to see their Team Leader stand proudly once again. We thanked MU Health Care and the entire trauma team for their incredible part in making it happen. They joined Sanborn and his girlfriend, Faith, on the field and were publically recognized and thanked during the long awaited Black Team reunion.
As the final act of the Golden Knights’ appreciation to the care, selfless service, and open arms that were generously extended to SFC Sanborn, his girlfriend, Faith, and to the Team, Dr. Nelson was unanimously voted to be inducted into the Golden Knight family as an honorary Golden Knight. In front of all of his colleagues and peers he took a knee as LTC Enrique Melendez, the Golden Knights’ Commander, shared the oath and “Knighted” Dr. Nelson with the Excalibur Sword.