Another group of athletes you may recognize on the course this year are the members of Team RWB, known as Eagles. Our Title Sponsor Huntington Bank likes to recognize and support these athletes. Team RWB (stands for red, white, blue) is a team of veterans and civilians whose goal is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity. This year the GR Tri will have close to a dozen Team RWB athletes participating in our event. One of those athletes is Katy Stone.
Katy was a Flight Operations Specialist for the US Army from 1992 to 1996. She served in a CH-47 unit in Savannah, GA and was deployed to Haiti for Operation Uphold Democracy. During her service she was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, three Army Achievement Medals, an Army Good Conduct Medal, and National Defense Service Medal. Her husband, Rick, is also a full-time Army soldier.
In 2012 (at age 39), when her husband was away on his fourth Army deployment, he encouraged Katy to do something on her own and get involved in her own hobbies. She had wanted to do a triathlon since her teens but just didn’t know where to start. “I decided that it was time. I had watched a couple of triathlons in 2012 to just see how the transitions worked and what people were wearing. I teamed up with a friend and we trained for an indoor tri and had so much fun! I went on to compete in 3 sprint triathlons that year. Since 2013, I have competed every year.” Katy isn’t just a competitor, she’s a contender having earned podium spots in 17 of the 20 races she’s participated in.
The proudest of those races for her was finally signing up for USAT Age Group Nationals in 2017 after qualifying to compete for 4 straight years. Her goal was to finish in the top of her age group in order to qualify for Team USA at Worlds. She did it! She also achieved the status of All American with USAT this past year. In 2018, she will head to Cleveland to participate in Age Group Nationals again, hoping to once again qualify for Team USA.
Katy learned of Team RWB back in 2014 while watching a few Team RWB Eagles at Challenge New Albany and seeing some Facebook posts from fellow veterans. “I quickly fell in love with their mission. In 2015 after joining the Lansing Chapter, I felt I had finally found my team that I had been searching for. Everywhere I raced there were Eagles either racing or cheering! Quickly I became part of the leadership team as the Veteran Outreach Coordinator and just recently became the Chapter Captain. I love being part of Team RWB! I am able to help build the #eaglefire in other veterans. I didn’t realize how lost I had felt until I found my purpose and my passion. Getting out of my comfort zone and becoming a leader has truly been amazing. I truly feel I would not be racing triathlon today if I had not become an Eagle! I am grateful for the amazing experiences that Team RWB has given me, and all the amazing people I have met!”
When Katy is not training for triathlons or serving for Team RWB, she lives in Perry, Michigan with her husband and two daughters, ages 11 and 13. She has a small-scale poultry and produce farm there where she homeschools her girls. We wish Katy all the best in her race goals for 2018 and look forward to cheering on her and her fellow Eagles. If you’d like to learn more about Team RWB or get involved please go to www.teamrwb.org.