DynCorp International sponsored one current and two former DI team members in the 32nd Annual Tin Man Triathlon held July 29 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The triathlon consisted of a 750 meter swim, 40 kilometer bike ride and a 10 kilometer run.
Clint Barkley, senior operations coordinator for the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) at DynCorp International, Steve Martin, former DI civilian police advisor and Joel “Andy” Herbst, who previously worked with DI in support of the Department of State’s Civilian Police (CIVPOL) training Program, made up the “DynCorp International Patriots” team.
What made this event so significant for the DI Patriots was that Barkley, Martin and Herbst all sustained injuries from serving in Afghanistan or Iraq, and completed their portions of the triathlon with the help of prosthetics.
Michael Warren, vice president, Human Resources Employee Assistance Programs, was on-site and encouraged the DI team at transition areas between legs.
“We finished. That may sound like a joke, but that is actually a big step for the three of us,” said Martin. “This race is not a ‘beginner’ race, each stage is very challenging. The cheers from the crowd as each of us finished our legs were very rewarding and humbling.”
Clint Barkley is a single leg amputee and completed the bike ride portion of the race, using a handbike for the 40 kilometer leg. As a former Marine, he served two tours in Iraq and during his second, was injured and lost his leg above the knee.
“Events like the Tin Man allow us to demonstrate to ourselves and to others that, although we may face serious obstacles in our lives, we can persevere over those limitations and accomplish great things,” said Barkley of the experience. “Participating in the Tin Man Triathlon gave me a great sense of purpose and accomplishment.”
While serving in Afghanistan an improvised explosive device (IED) struck his vehicle, causing him to lose both of his legs. Martin is now back on duty with the Arizona Highway Patrol and competes in marathons to stay in shape.
“Doings things like this triathlon are incredibly important to help in the recovery process. Learning how to walk again was a challenge in itself, but taking that next step and competing again is a huge boost to the self-confidence of everyone involved,” said Martin. “We appreciate DI’s support and hope to participate in more events like this in the future.”
Herbst, a single-leg amputee, completed the 750 meter swim. While working in Iraq, Herbst’s vehicle in was struck with an IED and he sustained significant injuries to his left leg.
One of the event’s highlights came as Herbst emerged from the water and the crowd responded by cheering enthusiastically.
“I can’t thank the individuals at DynCorp International enough for reaching out and allowing me to be a part of this event. Completing this triathlon was so motivating for us and we hope we’ve inspired others with life-changing injuries,” said Herbst.
“When Andy came out of the water the crowd went wild cheering for him, but he was so focused on getting his prosthetic leg on he did not realize all the cheering was for him. It was not until people started reaching out to pat him on the back and Michael Warren pointed it out, that Andy knew the crowd was excited not just about all the swimmers coming out of the water, but to see an amputee stepping up and meeting this challenge,” commented Martin.