The improved, 1.65 mile fitness trail near 1st Sgt. Christopher Rafferty Memorial Field is more than a place to workout. The trail serves to honor all men and women who have sacrificed for their country, and was dedicated to Retired Staff Sgt. Adam Keys during a ceremony, Nov. 9.
Members of the 20th Engineer Brigade built the trail with “motivation, teamwork and perseverance,” said Col. Marc Hoffmeister, commander, 20th Eng. Bde.
Keys was a member of the brigade’s 27th Engineer Battalion when he deployed to Afghanistan in 2009.
During that deployment, an improvised explosive device detonated underneath his armored vehicle. The other four Soldiers in the vehicle, Sgt. Chase Stanley, Spc. Jesse Reed, Sgt. Zachary Fisher and Spc. Matthew Johnson were killed by the blast.
Keys suffered a severe concussion, broken jaw, ankles, shoulder and humerus. He was eventually transferred to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Maryland, where his mother came to help care for him.
During the dedication ceremony, Julie Keys described the harrowing first days of her son’s stay at the hospital. Keys contracted an infection that turned septic, and the Soldier eventually coded seven times over the first few months, she said.
“I always felt in my heart that he was in there,” she explained.
After 150 surgeries, her son is still the same “Adam” from before his injury.
“He inspires me every day,” she said.
Keys also shared words of inspiration with those gathered to honor him. He advised service members to cherish their time at Fort Bragg, “the Center of the Universe.”
“This place will never, ever change,” he said.
Keys also encouraged his brothers and sisters to utilize the updated trail to their advantage.
“This is our trail,” he said. “Use it frequently. Prepare for the next battle.”
The Staff Sgt. (Ret.) Adam Keys Fitness trail contains six obstacles, including a weaver, high wall, succession wall, over under, leg over and monkey bars. It is a 1.65-mile loop located off Bastogne Drive in the 20th Engineer Brigade footprint.