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Adversity, resilience, teamwork, success

By Mark Squires of Express Ranches and a proud parent

In 2012 the six students from the Kingfisher FFA in Oklahoma won the state finals of the parliamentary procedure (parli pro) career development event. Of this group Trevor Woods (president of the team) was the most excited about this achievement. However, at the end of the Oklahoma CDE finals in Stillwater, the other five members of his team had qualified to compete at nationals in other CDEs including livestock judging, agricultural issues and agri-marketing. The students were allowed to decide what they wanted to compete in and at the end of the day Trevor was the only one left standing and it looked like his dreams of leading Kingfisher to Oklahoma’s first national parli pro title was to be forgotten.

Following the 2012 national convention and expo, the Kingfisher parli pro team committed themselves to try and work their way back to nationals in 2013. And they did just that at the 2013 Oklahoma State CDE Finals.

In late May following high school graduation, Trevor was with friends riding the back roads of Kingfisher and fell out of the back of a pickup going 40+ mph. He landed on his head and was rushed by his friends to the emergency room. Trevor was sent directly to the OU Trauma Center and was diagnosed with severe brain injury, a broken jaw, severe facial lacerations and an upper chin that was in need of facial reconstructive surgery.

For several weeks Trevor was at the trauma center. His total loss of memory and cognitive thought made parents and team members wonder what the outcome for Trevor would be. The thought of replacing him on the team would be one of the toughest challenges these young people might face.

As the summer progressed Trevor began to improve. He delayed his entrance to Redlands Community College, which was to start in August, as his memory was still not 100 percent and his jaw had been wired shut for quite some time. In August he started coming to team practices and set in to try and reconnect. While his memory was coming back, everyone still wondered if it would work. Trevor started to participate at team practices and recited his parts even while his jaw was still wired shut.

His will, determination and desire, which eventually led this team to victory and a national championship, never left his spirit. All of us knew that his road to recovery was led by this desire. And when the day of achievement came, the entire community rose to cheer this group of students and especially the leadership and inspiration that came from the struggle of this young man.

Here is a link to the championship round at nationals were you can see the awesome job Trevor did to finalize his road to recovery. Kingfisher, later announced as first place winners, starts at 1:28:00 on the video.