Saturday Spotlight: Samuel Varvel

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Chapter: Team RWB Charlotte

Member Since: March 2015

Motto: “I can do anything, just some things I haven’t learned yet!”

Why Did You Join Team RWB?

“I learned about RWB from the All American Marathon Expo in 2015 from Debbie Hendrix. I thought it was OK and I was not completely interested until I saw an Eagle carrying Old Glory for the Half. Every time he caught up to me he would say a joke and motivate me to keep going; Saying that a “young buck like me shouldn’t let a 47 year old beat me.”

What has Been Your Favorite Event or Experience with Team RWB?

“My favorite experiences are at large events that bring Eagle from various chapters together. Some people I have met before and we hug like cousins at a family reunion; others are friends on social media that you see what they are doing and inspire you to do more; and the best is seeing an Eagle that you have never met in a crowd and know that you have a friend.”

How Do You Serve Your Community?

“This question feels very loaded. I know that as the Athletic Direct for Team RWB Charlotte I reach out to local athletic events to help promote, gather volunteers and to find an event that people can do together and build strong bonds; but that is not all that I do. I also reach out and learn about other veteran groups: Operation Enduring Warrior, Wear Blue, Charlotte Bridge Home and connect people with other groups that may be better suited to help not just veterans but people.

What Inspires You?

“Camaraderie and humility. I always feel inspired seeing those that finish an event and go back to support their teammates to finish the event too. I try my best that when I finish a race to go back and run in with each Eagle until everyone makes it to the finish line safely. I also slow down to motivate people or just to give them company. I also love it when people can laugh at themselves, those that don’t get defensive when they make a mistake. I have been wrong before and I can certainly be wrong again!”

How Has Team RWB Impacted Your Life?

“Team RWB has given me purpose and continues to help me recover. I suffered from 4 concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) from 2012 to 2014 while serving with the military overseas and at Fort Bragg. I suffered from problems such as vertigo, migraines, and exertion blackouts. Doctors told me that my brain would heat up and not be able to cool itself off causing me to black out, I started out unable to walk at a 17 min pace. As I pushed myself to get better I finally signed up for a half marathon. Then I met Jesus Ramirez from the Team RWB Fort Bragg Chapter who worked with me, introduced me to other adaptive athletes, ran with me and showed me ways to cope and that there are others like me that needed help. Today, I continue the lessons that Jesus has taught and try to help others through Team RWB, giving me a purpose greater than myself, while still improving myself.

What Would You Say to Someone Who is Thinking of Joining Team RWB?

“The fact that you are thinking about joining Team RWB, means that you see something in us that you like. I just ask that you give us a try. Find an event that you like on a day that works for you, in a location comfortable to you and come out. If nothing comes up reach out and ask about creating an event that you would like. Just be warned, if I am at the event you are going to be hooked! I bring the fun and the #EagleFire!”