Sailor of the Week: July 2 - 8
Few of us will ever encounter the degree of adversity Sergeant First Class and U.S. Army Special Forces soldier, Chris Livesay, 36, has been challenged with. And few of us could ever handle that adversity with the steadfast dedication he possesses.
Chris fought for his country during the initial invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq. During the initial push into Baghdad in 2003, Chris was shot through the left knee. This led to the eventual amputation of his left leg, just above the knee. Amazingly, Chris has remained on active duty and continues to have a successful career. He returned to active airborne status just two months after receiving his first prosthesis. He graduated from the Army Pathfinder school, and was found fit for duty. Chris is currently in the military’s Physician Assistant program which will lead to a commission as a First Lieutenant. It may have been his competitive will and the overall pursuit of being successful at his job that motivated Chris to return to active duty after such a major physical and emotional setback.
Last Tuesday, June 30, Chris was one of 50 injured service men and women from the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force who learned how to sail from several Paralympians and other members of the US Disabled Sailing Team Alpha Graphics, including Betsy Alison, Paul Callahan, Michael Hersey, Maureen McKinnon-Tucker, and Scott Whitman. The service men were trained in Sonars, SKUD-18s, and J/22s. The event was part of a four-day sports camp at Naval Station in Newport (RI) designed to introduce Paralympic sports to people with a physical disability.
“I can’t take up any sport or hobby without the goal of becoming the best,” said Chris. “The desire to win and an intense fear of failure is what drives me.” It was this attitude that got Chris recognized as the Military Paralympic Athlete of the Day. Chris was paired with Scott Whitman in a SKUD-18. He enjoyed the experience so much that he plans to take up competitive sailing in the future. “I want to learn all that I can and gain as much experience as I can so that I can one day I can make it to the Paralympics in sailing,” mentioned Chris. “The opportunity to compete and win is what attracts me to a sport. Just the pure joy and excitement of sailing could keep me doing it for a very long time.”
Chris has been married to his wife Amber for over a year now. She is a physician assistant and is currently serving in Iraq for her second tour.