As part of Saturday’s game against Florida, three servicemen from the Wounded Warrior Project will serve as honorary captains for the team. Here’s a look at these three men:
Steven Diaz, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.) Corporal
- Served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2003- 2006
- Student at A.C. Flora High School in Columbia prior to enlistment
- Spent three years in Okinawa, Japan before volunteering to serve in Iraq with the 2nd Military Police from Camp Lejeune, NC
- Injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) on March 25, 2005 in Al Asad, Iraq while riding in an unarmored Humvee guarding convoys and patrolling mobile supply routes searching for IED
- As a result of the blast, he suffered a traumatic brain injury, is blind in his left eye, has limited movement in his right foot, and suffers from seizures and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Endured numerous surgeries and physical therapy during 20 months of recovery at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD.
- Active with the Marine Corps League in Columbia
- Committed to helping other severely injured veterans with their recovery
- Currently a student at Midlands Tech
- Favorite sport is football
- Frequently involved with church functions.
Dan Nevins, U.S. Army (Ret) Staff Sgt.
- Began 15-year military career (eight active duty / seven national guard) after high school as a paratrooper stationed in Germany
- Deployed to Balad, Iraq in February 2004 with the California Army National Guard’s A Company, 579th Combat Engineer Battalion as a member of Task Force Tacoma
- Served as an infantry squad leader
- Nine months later, on November 10, 2004, while on an early morning combat mission, an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated beneath his vehicle, killing the driver
- Less than a half-hour after the explosion, his left leg was amputated below the knee in a tent in Iraq
- He also suffered a traumatic brain injury and his right leg was severely damaged, eventually requiring more than 30 surgeries
- He spent 18 months recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center
- Following medical retirement in August 2006 he relocated with his family to Jacksonville, Fla.
- Appointed community outreach manager for the PGA TOUR in April 2007
- One year later he suffered a setback when a recurrent bone infection in his right leg necessitated the amputation of his right leg below the knee
- Following surgery he spent four months in recovery and rehabilitation back at Walter Reed
- Returned to the PGA TOUR in July 2008, where his perseverance, positive attitude and passion for helping other wounded soldiers continued to be a source of inspiration
- Joined the Wounded Warrior Project full-time in March 2009 and serves as director of major gifts.
Michael G. Williams, U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt.
- Currently at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on active duty recovering from injuries sustained August 2, 2009 in Afghanistan
- Explosive ordnance disposal specialist in the U.S. Air Force…
- Stepped on a landmine while defeating an improvised explosive device (IED) on a bridge
- As a result of his injury, his left leg was amputated below the knee and he suffered major tissue damage to his right leg
- Is able to walk again with daily physical therapy
- Very proud of his military service.
- Native of Summerville, SC
- Has an 11-month-old son
- His father retired from the U.S. Air Force
- Loves country music and is a fan of Toby Keith
- Favorite sport is football