COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Marine E-4 Thomas “TJ” Gilman, an Okanogan graduate, took won five swimming events and placed second in two shooting events at the Department of Defense Warrior Games on June 1-9.
The games are for injured active and retired service members as a way to help with their recovery.
Gilman, a 2011 graduate of Okanogan High School, lost his left hand last October, said his dad, Larry Gilman, Omak.
His duty station is with Wounded Warrior Regiment in San Diego, Calif., where he trains athletically and also attends work-related training.
He remains on active duty, although his four-year service time is up in March. At that point, a decision will be made about whether he will remain in the Marines, his dad said.
By the close of swimming competition, TJ Gilman had won the 50-meter backstroke in 40.92, a Warrior Games record, and placed first in the 50-meter breaststroke in 43.46, 100-meter freestyle in 1:17.88 and 50-meter freestyle in 32.61.
He also swam a leg on the gold medal-winning Marine Corps 200-meter freestyle relay team. He, Dorian Gardner, Robert Dominguez and Alexis Padilla covered the distance in 2:07.13.
Gilman had a head start in swimming, since he participated in AAU meets while growing up and was a two-time state champion.
In air rifle, Gilman placed second in 10-meter prone with a score of 244.4, just 4.5 points off the gold medal mark, and second in 10-meter standing at 243.1. The winner edged him by 0.1 point.
He also placed 17th in individual compound open archery with an average arrow of 9.08 and a total of 545. The first-place winner had scores of 9.73 and 584, respectively.
Larry Gilman said his son used prosthetics for the shooting and archery events. Swimmers are not allowed to use prosthetics.
The DOD Warrior Games marked the second of three rounds in the competition, with the goal being to make the U.S. team and compete at the international games next year in Australia.
“So proud of my son,” the elder Gilman said.
The privately funded games drew together about 300 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans.
Teams included active-duty service members and a small number of veterans with upper- and lower-body injuries, spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, visual impairment, serious illnesses and post-traumatic stress.
“The Wounded Warrior Regiment approaches each individual Marine and Sailor’s recovery as a relationship, not a process, and encourages healing in all aspects of life,” said a description of the Marine Corps team.
“The WWR provides leadership and guidance related to the support and care of combat and non-combat wounded, ill and injured Marines, Sailors attached to Marine units, and their family members, to maximize their recovery as they return to duty or transition to civilian life.”
While growing up and attending Okanogan schools, TJ Gilman was active in middle school baseball, and high school wrestling, football and baseball. He was on the honor roll and a member of National Honor Society and earned a Caribou Trail League scholar-athlete award upon graduation.
He also showed a horse at the fair and competed for several years on the 2Hott cheer team coached by his mother, Gerien Gilman.
Other non-school activities included snowmobiling, demolition derby and golf.