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2024 DoD Warrior Games: Tuesday, June 25 - Indoor Rowing 0800-1130 and Wheelchair Basketball Prelims 1500-1915. Click here to watch live. GO TEAM ARMY!

NEWS | June 24, 2024

Team Army Sgt. 1st Class Jack Peko: “I’m giving hope to those with a stroke”

By MaryTherese Griffin Army Recovery Care Program

U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Jack Peko never thought he would need a Soldier Recovery Unit, nor did he ever think he would be competing in the 2024 Department of Defense Warrior Games.

Peko had a stroke on November 3, 2022, and is recovering at the Ft. Riley Kansas SRU, where he learned about adaptive sports. He is in Orlando on Team Army, competing in the Warrior Games. “It’s so great to represent the Army,” said Peko. “Not only am I representing the Army, but I'm representing people in the same situation as me. I’m giving hope to those with a stroke."

Peko uses a wheelchair and does well communicating verbally as he works to improve his speech. He is so thankful for the SRU. “They helped me by working with me in physical therapy and occupational therapy, and they also help me with my family,” said the married father of four children between the ages of one and nine.

“I didn’t know anything about adaptive sports until I went to the SRU because I tend to block everything out, and adaptive sports help me by repetition and communicating with other athletes with similar issues as me,” he said

Peko competed in precision air competitions (air rifle) Monday and medaled for Team Army. “I only started shooting, but I won silver and am happy with that,” said Peko. “I'm looking forward to shot put and discus in the field competition.”

Peko’s wife, Gloriah, could hardly contain her excitement seeing her husband do so well. “I am super proud of him!” she said. “Words cannot explain. I know at first, he had a lot of doubts because he couldn’t do the things he did before but look at him.”

The Pekos hope everyone will recognize the value of adaptive sports and the Warrior Games. “These games and this program help our Soldiers tremendously and help them recover, and it's important it stays around because this doesn’t end here,” said Gloriah. “Our new normal is to help Jack recover and live as comfortably as we can.”

With two of their four children watching, Jack Peko said he is proud to have them cheering ‘dad’ on and wants them to understand what resiliency looks like.

“I hope they can see that they can overcome anything,” explained Peko. “And that anything is possible if they put their mind to it.”