Veteran’s Stories

Featured Athletes (scroll down to learn more about them)

Gerard Ah-Fook

Gerard suffered life-threatening injuries in a boating accident that left him in a coma for four months.  Severe internal injuries, the loss of his right leg and part of the left, but he did not lose his spirit.  Since joining TriSoldier Project, Gerard has appeared in three ITU Duathlon World Championships in the Paraolympic TRI-1 Class.  He was the 2013 Paraduathlon World Champion and a silver medalist in 2012 and 2014.  He is also an accomplished handcycle racer, winning the Paraolympic Cycling MH4 division Omnium at the Redlands Classic Race in 2013.

US Navy

Doug Draper

Doug suffered injuries to his arms and upper body as a weapons expert in the US Air Force. He retired from the Air Force and continues to serve as an Air Force Reserve Officer’s Training Course instructor. He took up multisport in 2012 to rehab from his injuries and resulting surgeries, and in 2014 he competed in the USAT Duathlon National Championship in St Paul, Minn, and qualified for the 2015 ITU Duathlon World Championships in Adelaide, Australia.


Juliet Madsen

Juliet Madsen was a medivac medic in Iraq and was injured, including a traumatic brain injury from a bomb blast. She suffered through a stroke and several surgeries, but has come a long way back to her current condition. She participated in her triathlon in 2011 and is hooked. Even though she was slowed this season when she was knocked off her bike and left in the street by a collision with skateboarders, but she is one tough girl and is on the mend. Her plans for 2012 include the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon. Juliet also makes artistic quilts (she learned how in rehab, I think), to raise money for veteran organizations, one of which is hanging in the Library of Congress. Here is a link to her quilting website:


Anthony was on a foot patrol in the mountains of Afghanistan. One of his squads were ambushed, and during the ensuing fire fight, while charging up the mountain towards the enemy, he was shot by an enemy sniper. He was pulled out of the line of fire and lay bleeding in the mountains for a few hours until the fight was over. The round entered his hip and exited near his spine. The doctors were surprised that he was able to move his legs, a few centimeters difference and he would “have been in a wheel chair for the rest of my life”. His goal is to complete an Ironman in 2012.

Anthony Rico


John DiCorce

John served as a US Army Ranger for seven years. He was injured and following three reconstructive knee surgeries, forced to retire. He has been competing in the sport of Triathlon in 2006. John completed his first half Ironman on August 18th, 2010 at the Stevens Lake Ironman 70.3. John also competes in events with his son. John currently works in Law Enforcement.


Tarus Nelson

TriSoldier Tarus Nelson served as a US Army Combat Engineer for four years. He was injured in a convoy accident which left him with a shattered left arm, two broken collar bones, fractured skull, broken jaw, severed tongue and internal injuries. Tarus was an avid athlete before his injuries and has used training for triathlon as a way to recapture that passion for sport.

On September 18th 2010, Tarus completed his first half Ironman, the Lake Stevens Ironman 70.3. In 2011, Tarus completed his first full Ironman at Ironman Louisville. Tarus is also active in his community, the Washington DC area, as a member of Tri Unify, and organization dedicated to providing an avenue for athletes of color to compete in triathlon.


Kevin McNease

Kevin served in the US Navy for 20 years as a Rescue Swimmer. Cumulative trauma left him with a 50% disability after surgeries to his hip and shoulders. After not running for 5 years, set a goal of doing a triathlon and has since completed races at every distance including Ironman Coeur d’Alene in ’08 and Lake Stevens Ironman 70.3 in ’09 and ’10. Kevin also competed in the XTERRA Trail Run World Championships in Hawaii in December of 2010. Kevin is a USA Triathlon Certified Coach.

US Navy

Odis Franklin

Odis served in the US Army from 1992 – 1996. After being discharged with a 40% service connected disability, he gained weight, getting up to 230 lbs.  Five years ago, he started running, and ran two marathons.  In the process he lost 50 lbs.  Last year he tried his first triathlon, a sprint distance race.  In 2010, he completed the Buffalo Springs Lake Ironman 70.3. He is a leader in the veteran sports community participating in many veteran events.


Michael Finlay

During his last deployment to Iraq, Michael suffered a traumatic brain injury which causes seizures. He also suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome. He says that riding a bike is “a prefect escape from everything. I have a great time doing the triathlons and I am looking forward to competing in more this season. The goal is to complete an Ironman in 2012″, which Michael did! He continues to be active in multisport.


Michael Finley

Anthony Rizer

Arthur enlisted in the Army at the age of 17 he served in the reserves as a NCO and after college received a commission became an officer and branched Armor (because he wanted to be combat arms but hate being cold and wet – hence no infantry.) CPT Rizer went to law school, and deployed to Iraq in 2005 shortly after graduating (as a combat arms officer, not as a JAG). CPT Rizer was attached to the U.S. Marine Corps, 2nd Mar Div, USMC and later to the 1st Mar Div, USMC in Fallujah and was embedded with a battalion in the Iraqi Army’s “Special Forces Division”


Christopher Toey

Christopher served in the Army as an Airborne Infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division. He was deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. I was wounded in Fallujah, Iraq as the result of a rocket attack. He sustained a shattered radius and radial head in his right (dominant) arm and shrapnel to his left foot. He no longer has full range of motion in his arm but, he says “it doesn’t hinder me from many things.” He had also been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.