Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan Sykes was injured during his fifth tour in Afghanistan. Although Ryan suffered serious, lifelong injury including traumatic brain trauma, he has maintained an extremely positive outlook on life. One of his dreams since returning home has been to complete the “Tough Mudder.” The Tough Mudder is one of the hardest endurance event series in the country, in which participants attempt 10-12 mile long military style obstacle courses that test physical strength and human fears. These include fears such as fire, water, electricity and heights.
Ryan’s team, “Silent Predator,” was a collaboration of people and included Orange County Sheriff’s Department School Resource Officer Jay Myers. Myers pulled together 21 Orange County Sheriff’s Department personnel, 10 San Ramone Police Department members, along with others that made up the 54 person “Silent Predator” team. It was a collaboration of all of these members to get Ryan through the course.
Myers described the overall experience as “Absolutely unforgettable. We had a team of 54 people with the single goal of helping Ryan complete his dream. There were 20 obstacles along the 10.2 mile course of near vertical hills. Team Silent Predators got Ryan through all 20 obstacles.”
How do you get a wheel chair bound Veteran across a 20 foot gap along a 6 inch wide balance beam surrounded by water on both sides? Myers described the process as “Easy...TEAMWORK by a group of dedicated teammates who don't have "Can't do it" in their vocabulary.”
How do you go up and down a 45 degree hill with a man in a wheelchair? “IMPROVISE and use whatever you can find. In our case, we found a fire hose to use as a tether so we could pull him up the hills and lower him down the hills,” Myers said.
“The most memorable moment was when we made it through the final obstacle. Once we finished the course, everyone was very emotional. We all knew we were a part of something very special. While on the course, the team was solely focused on getting Ryan through it. The course was extremely difficult and to know we made it all the way was very gratifying. Everyone was emotional.”
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