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Injured soldier set to return

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A soldier left fighting for his life after he was hit by a car while on Covid-19 checkpoint duty is to return home today after months of surgery and treatment in a US hospital.

Private Ndavyah Williams, 26, who was injured three months ago, said he was looking forward to coming home — and to battling back to full fitness so he can resume his role in the Royal Bermuda Regiment.

Private Williams said: “I should be home on Saturday — weather permitting.

“I'm looking towards a full recovery, but I still have a long way to go.

“I will have more doctors' appointments and things to go to and keep up with — I will get back to normal, but how soon is the question.”

But he added he had no regrets about his decision to join the RBR — and planned to get “my boots back on the ground” as soon as possible.

Private Williams said: “I'm a regiment guy — I want to get back. Because this happened hasn't scared me away.”

He added that, although Bermudian, he was born and raised in Israel until he was 14 and many of his friends had been conscripted and seen active service.

Private Williams said: “They experienced all sorts of things.”

He added: “I wish it were different circumstances — it's not the best position to be in, but I'm diehard military and regiment.”

Private Williams and colleague Private Kirk Wilks Jr were struck by a car at a checkpoint in Devonshire about 11.15pm on June 29.

Both were rushed to hospital and Private Williams, the father of a one-year-old girl, was flown by air ambulance to the Beth Israel Hospital in Boston for life-saving surgery the next day. Pte Wilks suffered a broken leg and is recovering at home.

Two men have been charged in connection with the incident.

Private Williams said he was grateful for the support of the RBR, his rugby club Renegades and the public as he fought his way back from the brink.

Renegades organised a golf tournament at the Turtle Hill Golf Club in Southampton last weekend to raise cash to take care of family expenses not covered by the RBR's health insurance and raised more than $24,000, with cash still coming in.

Private Williams said: “From what I've seen, the RBR has been consistent, kept everything up to date and made sure I was taken care of.”

He added the fundraiser by Renegades, where he has played since he was 15, was “a big surprise”.

Private Williams, who has also played for the national squad, said: “I am very thankful. That wasn't even in my mind that that was going to happen.”

The soldier can now walk with the aid of crutches or a walking frame, but he said it would be six months to a year before he would be fully back on his feet.

Robin Brickell, of Renegades, who is an actuary at Hannover Re in Hamilton, said: “We knew there would be a good response — we did think it was a bit ambitious going for two tee times, but once word got out, the tee times were filled up in a couple of days and we had to add another one.

“There was a lot of shock at the club about what happened to Ndavyah. We're really happy to have been able to help — it was great to see the spirit of the community.

“But it's a testament to the kind of guy Ndavyah is — nobody has a bad word to say about him.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Ben Beasley, the RBR Commanding Officer, said the regiment was happy to support the Renegades fundraiser — and to enter its own golfers.

He added: “It was a really well organised tournament for a very good cause.

“It was a superb event, supported by a wide cross-section of the community, which is a tribute to the character of Private Williams.”

Colonel Beasley said: “Private Williams embodies the courage, dedication and discipline of the RBR and we look forward to welcoming him back.”

The former player for Teachers RFC and Police RFC, who was also an internationalist, added “the ethos and core values” of the sport were “similar to the military”.

Colonel Beasley explained: “We've always supported each other, not only in the good times, but also in the most challenging times.”

John Rankin, the Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the RBR and who also attended the fundraiser, added: “I was deeply shocked by the injuries suffered by Private Williams at a time when he was doing his duty as a member of the regiment, helping to keep others safe.

“His injuries were severe and I know that everybody in Bermuda shared my concerns for him. The good news is that he is doing well and I pray for his continued recovery.

Mr Rankin said: “I give thanks to the organisers — Turtle Hill, Renegades Rugby Club and the Royal Bermuda Regiment — for arranging this fundraiser and I am grateful to everyone who came out to participate in this event and to show their support for Private Williams and his family.

“It is at times like this when Bermuda is at its best, coming together as one to help others.”

Ready to return home: Private Ndavyah Williams (File photograph)
Robin Brickell, of Renegades RFC, with John Rankin, the Governor, at a fundraising golf tournament for Private Ndavyah Williams at Turtle Hill Golf Club in Southampton last weekend. (Photograph provided)
Lieutenant-Colonel Ben Beasley, commanding officer of the Royal Bermuda Regiment, prepares to tee off at a golf tournament organised to raise funds for Private Ndavyah Williams, injured at a Covid-19 checkpoint in June (Photograph provided)
A team sponsored by technology firm Fireminds at a golf tournament to raise funds for injured soldier Private Ndavyah Williams (Photograph provided)

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Published September 19, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated September 20, 2020 at 6:31 pm)

Injured soldier set to return

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