Athlete Spotlight – Pou Pou: The Gentle Giant
December 31, 2021 | Story by Megan Trexler | Commander, Navy Installations Command
WASHINGTON – At first glance, IT1 (Ret.) Pou Pou may look like a tough and rough-around-the edges kind of guy --- standing 6 feet 4 inches, with a quiet demeanor. But those who know him consider him a gentle giant who is kindhearted and funny.
Pou served in the US Navy for almost 20 years before retiring. He shared, “It made me proud to be in the Navy and a Samoan warrior.” His warrior spirit has helped him fight through several surgeries and countless physical therapy appointments. Pou admits that “he’s gone through a lot.” He said that, “my wife, my family and my faith in God play a big role in my recovery.”
The 2021 Department of Defense (DoD) Warrior Games would not have been Pou’s first time representing Team Navy. Pou first represented Team Navy during the 2017 DoD Warrior Games in Chicago, Illinois. As a veteran athlete, Pou plays a key role in helping to create an environment in which Team Navy athletes feel like family.
Throughout the years Pou’s teammates have shared that once you are able to get him talking, “he will make people laugh.” A 2021 Team Navy teammate said, “He’s a character, that’s for sure. We can get really competitive and push ourselves. But just when we need it --- there Pou is, with some funny comment for that comedic relief.”
Navy Wounded Warrior is the Navy’s sole organization for coordinating the non-medical care of seriously wounded, ill and injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen and providing resources and support to their families.
The Warrior Games are a Paralympic-style competition among more than 200 wounded, ill and injured service members from all branches of the U.S. military, as well as from international armed forces. The 2021 Department of Defense Warrior Games would have been hosted at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida from September 12-22, 2021. The invitation-only event was going to feature 12 sports: archery, cycling, field, golf, indoor rowing, powerlifting, shooting (precision air), sitting volleyball, swimming, track, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby. The 2021 DoD Warrior Games were canceled due to ensure the safety, health and well-being of our service members and local communities as the COVID-19 Delta variant continues to affect the country.