Monique Burkland is no stranger to international travel.
The former Plainview softball star, who lost the lower left section of her leg in a forklift accident four years ago, has turned what some would call a disability into a fresh start. Burkland has become one of the nation's premier sitting volleyball players, an endeavor that has taken her across the world as part of the United States national team. Burkland has played matches against competitors from all over the globe, all while getting her education at the team's home base, located on the campus of UCO in Edmond.
But even she had to admit that her latest trip, to London for the 2012 Paralympic Games, was a new and exciting experience.
"Before we went to London, we took a trip to Amsterdam to get acclimated and play a few matches," Burkland said. "Nike, Ralph Lauren and some other companies hooked us up, just gave us all of these free clothes.
"That was pretty awesome."
Burkland and the U.S. squad did their country proud at the Games, taking a silver medal after a tough loss against China in the finals. The medal itself was present at a family celebration on Saturday, where Burkland's grandmother, Beverly Bachmeier, couldn't wait to show it off.
"I think she likes it more than I do," Burkland said with a laugh. "She shows it to everybody."
It certainly isn't hard to see the pride on Bachmeier's face as she shows off the medal in its black display case.
"Feel how heavy it is," Bachmeier said.
As one of the strongest forces in Burkland's life, it was Bachmeier who first got her interested in trying out sitting volleyball, after seeing a brochure for the sport in a prosthetics store in Edmond.
And now, after seeing what Burkland has been able to accomplish in the face of so much adversity, her pride bubbles out in her voice.
"I'm really inspired by the way she handled the accident and went on with her life," Bachmeier said. "I couldn't be prouder of the way she's turned out.
"I hope she keeps it up."