There are many great stories from the July 27-28 “10 TV Commit to be Fit Multisport Celebration” but very few of them are many years in the making. If you’re watching the video, or if you were at the finish line with us, you saw many athletes from TEAM RWB finish the triathlon carrying a giant American flag as they crossed the finish line. This is but one of the stories under that flag.
Meet Master Sgt. Sean Clifton: U.S. Army Green Beret, Special Forces soldier, and Team Leader who served tours in Afghanistan and other unfriendly places. Sean has held a special place with us at the” 10 TV Commit to be Fit Multisport Festival” since last year, when he competed but didn’t complete the race. A severe bike crash took him out of the race and out of action for more than a short while. Of course this is not Sean’s first time dealing with something that takes him out of action for a while.
May 31, 2009 Sean was a number of Special Forces team in Afghanistan whose mission was to take out a Taliban stronghold. As the “breecher” he was first to the door, and first in. He was also the first to catch incoming Taliban fire. From the Survive and Thrive website: “Two of the rounds were critical; one hit his left arm, shattering the wrist and rendering his left arm useless. Another round hit just under his body armor, entering his left waistline, critically wounding 5 major organs.” He was a mess, and they barely kept him alive on the battlefield. He has since endured more than 20 surgeries to repair his body, but his spirit was never broken. After months at the US Army Walter Reed Medical Center, he returned to central Ohio and to his family, including his triathlon family. A member of TEAM RWB, a veterans group dedicated to “transforming the way that America supports its veterans” Sean and his RWB teammates encouraged each other to train, and race, and never give up. Fast forward a year, and more than a dozen members of TEAM RWB completed the “10 TV Commit to be Fit Multisport Celebration” Triathlon on Sunday, each one carrying that huge American flag the last 100 yards. There was a definite cheer from the crowd as Sean rounded the corner to come under the arch and down the finish chute, and to anyone watching, it was just another very fit athlete completing another tough race. That is, until we were reminded that just a few years ago he was bleeding out in a doorway halfway across the world, that he has earned a Purple Heart Medal, 3 Bronze Stars, 4 Army Commendation Medals, and 5 Army Achievement Medals, and he continues to serve his Country today as an advisor to the Department of Justice and Homeland Security operations.
Master Sergeant Clifton can now add one more medal to his collection, the finisher medal from the “10 TV Commit to be Fit Multisport Celebration”. We only hope it means as much to him as his service and his efforts mean to us. Great to see you at the finish line Sir, and we’ll try to say thank you for all that you did and continue to do, we just can’t find words that match the weight of your efforts.
See you on race day!
For more information on Sean, TEAM RWB, or the Wounded Warrior Project, see: