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Retired area soldier shooting for Warrior Games return

POSTED: June 17, 2014 6:26 p.m.

Retired U.S. Army Capt. Frank Barroqueiro had a memorable experience at the Warrior Games a year ago.

This week, he’s in West Point, N.Y., at the Army Warrior Trials trying to earn a spot to return to the event this September in Colorado Springs, Colo.

He took gold in a historic finish in the compound archery open event and bronze in pistol and compound team archery in 2013. But being there with son Hayden and daughter Gabby, ages 5 and 2 at the time, was a highlight of the games.

“My children have the incredible experience of watching people with severe amputations compete and not allow that to dictate what was going to happen to them in the rest of their lives,” Barroqueiro said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Before training for the Warrior Games last year, the shooting competitions hadn’t been on his radar.

“It was something new,” he said. “I didn’t know a great deal about it. As I researched it, I was really drawn to the competition side. It was a challenge for me.”

The Warrior Games, according to the U.S. Paralympic website, is expecting more than 200 competitors in archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field and wheelchair basketball. This will be the fifth year of the Warrior Games, which are open to wounded, injured and ill members and veterans of the U.S. and British armed forces.

Service members can compete up to two years in a row and four years overall in the games.

Barroqueiro, a teacher at Chestatee Middle, has been grateful for the community support since he was shot in the right forearm in August 2009 in Afghanistan.

Upon Barroqueiro’s October 2009 return to the area after 10 surgeries with two more remaining, the Hall County fire and sheriff’s departments organized a “welcome home” event in his neighborhood.

“The support in Gainesville’s been phenomenal ever since I was wounded. It was priceless,” he said of the welcoming back. “It meant more than I can express, to my family and myself.”

He is also thankful to the medical professionals who helped him get back a range of motion in his arm, including Amy Todd.

To win his gold medal last year, he defeated a Marine in a single-arrow shoot-off. Barroqueiro went first and had a perfect bull’s-eye. His fellow competitor didn’t.

He said last year’s Warrior Games included wounded service members from the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, Special Operations and even some competitors from the British Army.

“You get to share common experiences you had with those from other services,” he said. “Seeing the level of commitment and drive they have to compete at this level is awe-inspiring. It’s one of the things that I cherish the most about the Warrior Games.”

His experiences have made a big enough impression that he’s hoping to introduce archery into Chestatee’s high school, middle school and elementary school.

The Georgia Army National Guard has been a regular source of support for Barroqueiro, allowing him to use its Gainesville facilities to train in the same way he’ll be competing. Already this week, he earned a gold medal in pistol competition in his division at the trials. He’ll find out later this week whether he’s heading back to the Warrior Games with Team Army.

In a time of tight budgets, Barroqueiro said the valuing of these games by the U.S. Department of Defense is encouraging and benefits the service members and their families.

“The experience is wonderful, and I feel incredibly lucky to have this opportunity,” he said. “And I’m grateful that we continue to have funding for this event. Our folks are still standing by us.”


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