Major Anthony Smith, U.S. Army (ret.)
Sport: Tae Kwon Do
City: Armorel, AR
2018 Grant: Martial arts training and competition expenses and a new road bike
Bio: Anthony is a Grand Master of Martial Arts and recently opened his own studio, serving at-risk youth and his local community. He claims that sports saved his life after losing his arm, his hip and nearly dying when he was directly hit by a rocket-propelled grenade while deployed in Iraq. Thanks to continued support from CAF’s Operation Rebound program and his 2018 grant for training and competition expenses, Anthony will serve as a beacon of hope for other injured troops and tackle new personal fitness challenges.
Quote: “I was 310 pounds, smoked cigarettes and sat around in my wheelchair. Now I’m under 260, don’t smoke, don’t drink and while I may not have a typical athlete’s body, my body can perform athletically.”
Disability: Arm amputee
SGT Benjamin Perez, U.S. Army (ret.)
City: San Juan, PR
2018 Grant: Zumba instructor certification
Bio: Benjamin is constantly reaching for new goals, with his latest accomplishments taking place in the ever-popular fitness world of Zumba. In 2007, Benjamin sustained a traumatic brain injury from an IED blast while on patrol in Iraq, which led to his separation from military service. Benjamin refused to be defined by his injury and with the support of Operation Rebound, became a certified Zumba instructor.
Quote: “I want to let people know that CAF helps veterans to reach their fitness goals and let other veterans know that there is an organization that cares for us and is doing anything they can to help.”
Disability: Traumatic brain injury
Sports: Fitness, snowboarding, cycling, surfing, mountain boarding
City: San Diego, CA
2018 Grant: Strength and fitness training
Bio: Shealynn is thriving as a full-time student and all-terrain fitness enthusiast, enjoying snowboarding, cycling, surfing and mountain biking. Shealynn is fortunate to be back on the playing field, after an IED blast changed her life while deployed in Afghanistan as a combat medic. Among other injuries, she suffered a moderate TBI and bilateral femur fractures and has since undergone 45+ surgeries. Thanks to a fitness training grant from Operation Rebound, Shealynn is continuing to regain her strength and find confidence in and outside of the classroom.
Quote: “CAF has given me a place to meet people that can relate to the struggles this life has given me, and help me to learn, grow and fit which has been an incredible blessing.”
Disability: Limb salvage