Salutes & Awards

June 15, 2018
 

Motivated, dedicated, a step above the rest

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Airman 1st Class Giovanni Sims
Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.

Tech. Sgt. Derrall Peach, 355th Logistics Readiness Squadron ground transportation craftsman, trains for the discus field event on May 23, 2018 at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. Peach along with 39 other athletes qualified to compete in the Department of Defense Warrior Games in various sports to include archery, rowing, seated volleyball, wheelchair basketball, swimming cycling and many more.

They may be dramatically visible – a missing limb or facial scar. They may also dwell beneath the skin’s surface as mental trauma that persists long after its elicited events.

For many veterans, their wounds are obstacles, but for one there is nothing that can hinder his strive for excellence.

After serving 14 years, a misfortune occurred that prevented U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Derrall Peach Jr. from legally doing his job as a ground transportation craftsman with the 355th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.

“Last January, I was injured lifting weights,” said Peach. “I was having headaches and blurred vision and I eventually ended up in the hospital for a week. I had completely lost all central and peripheral vision in my right eye and doctors found lesions on my brain that were causing chronic migraines.”

Tech. Sgt. Derrall Peach, center, 355th Logistics Readiness Squadron ground transportation craftsman poses with friends and teammates Master Sgt. Andres Rodriguez ,left, 132d Iowa National Guard bioenvironmental engineer and Jose Rijos ,right, at the 2018 Air Force Wounded Warrior trials at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Peach along with 39 other athletes qualified to compete in various sports to include archery, rowing, seated volleyball, wheelchair basketball, swimming, cycling and many more during the 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Peach now serves as an administrator with the Airman and Family Readiness Center, but as a natural competitor, he needed an avenue to hone his competitive edge. Fortunately, the Air Force provided an opportunity for him to keep his strong-willed spirit.

“I love to compete, but after my injury I was unsure if competing was still a reality,” Peach said. “Luckily, I attended an Air Force Wounded Warrior adaptive sports camp and all the doubt was gone and a fire was lit.”

Peach was selected to join over 150 athletes at the 2018 Air Force Wounded Warrior Games trial camp at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., where he qualified, along with 39 others, to make the Air Force team. Each athlete participated in the tryouts for various sports to include archery, rowing, seated volleyball, wheelchair basketball, swimming, track and field and many more.

Tech. Sgt. Derrall Peach, 355th Logistics Readiness Squadron ground transportation craftsman, trains for the shot put field event at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., May 23, 2018. Peach will be competing in the 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Though there were a lot of challenges that Peach faced along the way, staying true to himself was important for him, his family and his teammates.

“People have this misconception that everything is good,” said Peach. “There’s a lot behind the scenes that I don’t talk about, but even on a bad day I want to be a positive person smiling and laughing. That’s just who I am.”

Peach continues to be inspired and motivated by friends and family while teaching his children that “you can do anything you put your mind to.”

“My biggest inspiration is my family,” said Peach. “Both of my children are special needs and the reason why I do this is because I want to let them know that they are able to obtain goals they didn’t think were possible. I want to show them that I’m not letting these disabilities stop me and they shouldn’t either.”

Peach competed in the 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games and won a gold medal in the 50 meter backstroke; silver medals in the 50 meter freestyle, 100 meter freestyle, shot put and discus events; and a bronze medal in the 88.01-107 kilogram powerlifting category.
 

Tech. Sgt. Derrall Peach, 355th Logistics Readiness Squadron ground transportation craftsman, poses with his winning medals from the 2018 Air Force Wounded Warrior Trials at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Feb. 23-March 2, 2018. Peach, along with 39 other athletes, qualified to compete in the Department of Defense Warrior Games in various sports.

 

Tech. Sgt. Derrall Peach, 355th Logistics Readiness Squadron ground transportation craftsman, trains for a swimming event in Tucson, Ariz., May 22, 2018. Peach will compete in power lifting, swimming, rowing, track and field and events during the 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.




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