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Wheelchair not enough to stop young archer

Shae’lee Dial, 16, gets ready to shoot a target 10 yards away during an archery session Aug. 9 (Photo by Airman Alex Martinez).

Shae’lee Dial, 16, gets ready to shoot a target 10 yards away during an archery session Aug. 9 (Photo by Airman Alex Martinez).

F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo. -- When she began exploring the world of archery, she was barely able to hold the bow on her own. Instructors had to assist her with simple tasks such as loading the arrows, aiming and shooting. She began shooting while she was at camp in Texas and has only seen improvement. Even though she is in a wheelchair, it does not define who she is or bind her from doing anything she wants. 

"When I do archery, it teaches people with disabilities to get out there and just do something," said 16-year-old Shae'lee Dial. "It takes away my stress." 

Shae'lee, daughter of Master Sgt. Dan Dial, 320th Missile Squadron, and Marsha Dial, 90th Force Support Squadron, has been doing archery in the indoor range here for about a month, and now, she is able to hold the bow, load the arrows, aim and shoot on her own. 

"I have been working with her for about a month, and she has come a long way," said Tech. Sgt. Dan Perge, 90th Space Wing judge advocates office. "She has gotten real strong in the last few weeks drawing, aiming and shooting her own arrows." 

Sergeant Perge volunteers his time at the indoor archery and helps Shae'lee with instructions and gathering the arrows after they are shot. 

Shae'lee plays many sports such as bowling, track, basketball and gymnastics and says playing sports makes her feel like she is not disabled but just a regular person. 

"I've known her now for a little while, and I've noticed that there is not a whole lot she can't do," Sergeant Perge said. 

"Playing sports with disabilities is all about having fun and building confidence," Shae'lee said. 

Shae'lee plans to continue doing archery and other sports and wants other people with disabilities to know it helps. 

"Even though somebody is disabled, they are able to do what normal people do, they just have to do it a little differently," Shae'lee said.