By Patricia Sands, WTC Stratcom
SPC Celestine Calvert was on the Army’s Warrior Games archery team and was a shot putter on the track and field team. This was no small feat for a wounded warrior with shoulder and knee injuries who is also recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Yet, there she was going head-to-head with the best.
She stood out among a crowd. She is a petite young lady—with major talent. Her smile is genuine, and her compassion is clear in spite of her chronic pain. At Warrior Games, she was known for helping and encouraging others on the team to succeed.
Calvert went through basic training at Fort Leonard Wood and then was assigned to the 603rd Military Policy Company. While still a teen, she served a tough tour in Ramadi, Iraq, where she was injured. She was first sent to Fort Dix and then to Walter Reed for her surgeries. Without a doubt, she is wise beyond her years as she reflected on the twists and turns of fate. She said she is grateful for her injuries as she would never have been to Walter Reed or met the love of her life.
In talking to Calvert about her husband, I asked if it was love at first sight. “Well, that could be argued,” she said. The former elite sniper, SGT Bradley Calvert, who is an AW2 Soldier, has a tough façade. It is reported that his first glance appeared to be a scowl as the two passed in the hallway at Walter Reed. However, within minutes of that scowl, they ended up in the same room visiting a mutual friend. Awkwardly, they stood squaring off at each other at the bedside. Very quickly, she told him what she thought about his scowl. He was surprised at her moxie and amused by the dialogue that followed. Soon, the conversation turned to smiles and laughter which was followed by a cup of coffee together.
During that conversation, she told SGT Calvert that she had an invitation to the inaugural ball, but did not have a date. He did not hesitate to respond to the lovely lady he just met hours before. He said he would be honored to escort her to the ball. The first date this couple went on was to the presidential ball. Just as in a story book, Cupid struck and they fell in love and were married on June 29, 2009. The years have passed and this couple is beside and supporting each other in all things and all interests.
Cupid, however, was not done yet. Not only did they fall in love, they would both start flinging arrows as well. SGT Calvert introduced his wife to archery. She explained during Warrior Games, “Through Bradley, I‘ve found a new talent and passion for archery and shot put. I was chosen for the 2011 Warrior Games and consider this accomplishment a great honor. I am taking my training very seriously while I enjoy this chance of a lifetime.”
When asked what he hopes for her, SGT Calvert replied, “I just want her to do her best, medal or no medal. I am proud of her and know what she can do.” He continued, “She is a natural talent and has the ability to win the gold.” Her goal was to bring a medal back to Fort George G. Meade in Maryland. She ultimately did not medal, but brought something much more important back home: Calvert showed other wounded warriors what is possible.
The Calverts have a big vision for the future. They not only assist each other, but they also help other wounded warriors. They know the path and the struggle, as they have traveled it. They have opened their home and hearts to Soldiers in need so they can make it to the next step. Their dream is to move to the Midwest and open a ranch with an equine therapy program for injured Soldiers.
Yes, love heals the wounds of war.