As part of her partnership with Athletes for Hope (AFH) Tiombé participated in the National Day of Service and Remembrance where athletes participated in various community outreach events of their choice during the week of September 11th. AFH founding athlete Andre Agassi stated, “While each of us individually have achieved a lot…we are much stronger standing shoulder to shoulder.” Tiombé chose to visit injured soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. On September 9th Tiombé took three athletes from the University of Maryland, where she is a volunteer coach, and spoke with soldiers that served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The athletes were first given a quick tour and introduction to the history of the hospital before they were taken to the patient floor. They were able to meet three soldiers with various injuries and in different stages of recovery. They spoke with the soldiers about their rehabilitation process and future plans. The soldiers and their visiting families were very excited about their time with Tiombé and the student-athletes. Hospital visits like this are often the highlight of the soldiers’ day as it’s a chance to see new faces and take their minds off of their tedious rehabilitation program.
When asked about the visit Tiombé said, “While I think any citizen would find it rewarding to do some form of community service if they can, I think athletes have access to a wide audience so they can make a big impact and possibly encourage other people to participate in giving back as well. I think athletes often have privileges that many others do not, and I think it is humbling to use the resources we have (whether it be money, recognition, or time) in a way that can help out the less fortunate. I think participating in the National Day of Service and Remembrance event helped me remember how united Americans felt after the terrorist attacks nine years ago. And I wanted to spend my time visiting with soldiers who defended our country in response to the attacks and thank them for their service. I really enjoy being apart of something where athletes can put their egos aside and do something for the greater good. We spend every day of our lives training to be the best and it’s nice to take a step back and put the emphasis on others for a change. Everyone has to be brought back to reality every now and then. When we complain about little things we should realize how fortunate we are.Visiting the soldiers made me realize my blessings. So many of the injured soldiers are so young and I think it was moving for the athletes with me to see that they were the same age. There are twenty-year-olds in the Middle East losing their limbs and losing their lives. So it was important for us to be there and speak with the soldiers not only to put things into perspective, but also to show our support for them.”