Reunited

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.

Black Team Visits Columbia Children’s Hospital

We are always honored to connect the Amercian people to America’s Army. Today we were privideged to spend time with some amazing children and their familes at the Children’s Hospital in Columbia, MO.

Shortly after arriving in town we went to the stadium to survey for tomorrow evening’s jump into the University of Missouri vs. Syracuse football game. Immediately following the visit to the stadium the team was proud to be a part of a heartwarming visit to the Children’s Hospital.

It is always a pleasant surprise to be welcomed with a host of smiles. We visited several rooms of children ranging from two yearls old to late teens. Their diagnosis’ varied from broken bones, to several rounds of chemotherapy and fighting cancer. Many were excited to find out that they would be able to see tomorrow night’s pyrotechnic jump from the Children’s Hospital!

The visit, which included passing out stickers, pins, brochures, and also performing gear demonstrations, was very moving. A couple of the children were even celebrating their opportunity to go home shortly after we finished our visit! Congratulations to those going home this evening and our thoughts will stay with those still in the great care of the Children’s Hospital.

Miami Beach Florida’s 2012 Veteran’s Day Parade

The Veterans of Foreign Wars hosted the 2012 Miami Beach Veteran’s Day Parade at Flamingo Park. Black Team was given the chance to perform the first parachute demonstration into this South Beach event. The Team was also afforded another very unique opportunity to put this event in the record books by jumping in the US Honor Flag. The US Honor Flag, which is registered national treasure to commemorate the events at ground zero on September 11, 2001, was flown in by SGT Jonathan Lopez.

The US Honor Flag pays tribute to those who have lost their lives in the line of duty, while protecting our lives, homes and country. It also represents those who currently serve to protect our communities and nation. This flag has traveled more miles than any other US flag in American history and has a very distinguished past. You can discover the Honor Flag’s full story at www.ushonorflag.org.

Black Team had to overcome some of the tricky wind conditions of South Beach. Each of the jumpers landed safely and accurately, showing the product of quality training and discipline. The same quality shared across America’s Army. Our demonstrators landed to the cheers and applause of the very excited parade goers  filling the stands.  Concluding the Team’s performance was the ceremonial exchange of the Honor Flag back to the Miami Beach Police Department’s Honor Guard.

 

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