MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, WA. — Keith Sekora knows pain, but he has also tasted triumph.
As a Gulf War veteran and King County Sheriff's deputy, Sekora had already more than answered the call of duty.
"I've always been that person, to try to help," he said.
Then came September 11, 2001, the worst terrorist attack in American history.
"After the towers came down and they actually hit us on American soil, something needed to be done," said Sekora.
And he was just the man to do it. Sekora enlisted in the Air Force, eventually serving with the bomb squad in Afghanistan where, in an instant, his life changed forever.
"Felt like somebody hit me in the back with a baseball bat," Sekora recalled.
Apparently struck by a bullet, his body armor saved him. But the impact tore an artery.
"Thirty-two hours later I started having strokes," he said. "I lost the ability to walk."
This warrior would not surrender.
"I spent a year in Walter Reed. I had to learn to walk and talk, use my arm," said Sekora.
As Sekora's body and brain continued to heal, he took up archery using specially adapted equipment, finding the target any way he could.
"I started shooting from the wheelchair. My shoulder, I can't lift it to hold a bow anymore, so I started shooting with one arm with a mouth tab. My jaw broke. Two bone grafts, four surgeries."
One phone call to a local prosthetic manufacturer was all it took to find a solution.
"I go into Fabtech up in Everett, and they give me a shoulder brace that I could use to shoot with."
He's giving back to his country, and to his newly adopted sport, as a competitor, instructor, and coach at Next Step Archery in Mountlake Terrace.
"Three years into shooting I made the national team. I'm trying to go to the 2020 Paralympics."
Keith Sekora continues to prove he can take a hit and keep on fighting.
"If I stop now, then the guy that shot me wins. And I refuse to let him win."
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