John's Journal...

Cheri Arnold – an Air Force Wounded Warrior Who Loves to Hunt and Shoot

Day 4: Cheri Arnold Becomes Empowered

Editor’s Note: One of the Wounded Warriors I met at a recent gathering in north Alabama was Cheri Arnold from Wood, Arkansas, and a Desert Storm veteran. She served as an Air Force Medical Technician and was injured when a gurney malfunctioned and collapsed. Later when Arnold returned home from overseas, she was severely injured in an accident with an automatic door that resulted in her becoming an incomplete paraplegic. We often think of wounded warriors as young men, 19- to 25-years old, who have fought in combat and been injured in battles. However, many wounded warriors never have fought in battles, but have put their lives on the line to serve their comrades in arms.

Click for Larger ViewHow do you regain who you are, and how do you learn that you can do more than you think you can? Some individuals with spinal-cord injuries only see the cups that are their lives as half-empty. They look mostly at what they’ve lost, instead of seeing what they can become. “Getting involved in the outdoors has helped me so much,” Arnold says. “The Wounded Warrior Project tries to help veterans discover what they can do, instead of focusing on what they can’t do. Before I was injured I’d never been hunting before, although I was a very-outdoorsy person. However, hunting and fishing weren’t on my agenda. But I had a friend, Vickie Gardner, who calls herself ‘The Vice President in Charge of Stuff,’ at Alpen Optics, who hosted an event for women who were Wounded Warriors. Vickie cared enough to build a program for Wounded Warriors and got me and others like me back outside and into the outdoors.

Click for Larger View“That one event has been life-changing for me. Now I’m learning to try and do things I’ve never done previously. And, I think this enthusiasm for accomplishing new tasks may be one of the keys to coming back from a spinal-cord injury. Just because you’ve never participated in a particular activity doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it. When I learned about the fun I could have hunting and fishing and being in the outdoors (even though my activities were limited by a walking stick and a power chair), I discovered a new life outside that I really enjoy. I’ve met new friends and learned so-many new things.”

Click for Larger ViewSuccess comes for those who try. Today, there are so-many opportunities for the spinal-cord injured than ever before in years past. For instance, never in the history of the world has there been so much competition in sports for wheelchair athletes. The Wounded Warriors Project and others are opening the doors for the physically challenged to have opportunities for new jobs and new adventures.

Click on today’s video, and Cheri Arnold will tell you why she’s become an outdoor woman, and why being outdoors may be activities for you to consider.

Courage - Stories of Hometown HeroesTo read more inspiring stories of courage, click here or go to, and type in the name of the book, “Courage – Stories of Hometown Heroes.” You can download a Kindle app for free, buy the e-book from Amazon and read it on your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

Tomorrow: Wounded Warrior Cheri Arnold says Enjoy the Outdoors

Check back each day this week for more about "Cheri Arnold – an Air Force Wounded Warrior Who Loves to Hunt and Shoot "

Day 1: Air Force Medical Technician Cheri Arnold Injures Her Back during Desert Storm
Day 2: As an Incomplete Paraplegic Air Force Veteran Cheri Arnold Learns to Have a Life
Day 3: Cheri Arnold Says You Can Help a Person with Spinal Injuries
Day 4: Cheri Arnold Becomes Empowered
Day 5: Wounded Warrior Cheri Arnold says Enjoy the Outdoors

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Entry 666, Day 4