U.S. Special Operations
SFC Tuimalealiifano was born in American Samoa. His family moved to the United States to seek better opportunities for the future when he was six years old. Struggling as an immigrant family with six children in a foreign country with parents who were ministers laid the foundation that shaped the character traits Sgt. Tui would always be known for: compassion, respect, faith, and hard work.
Sualauvi joined the US Army in June 1997, three weeks after graduating high school and proceeded to maximize the opportunities service offered. His natural confidence, capability, athleticism, and leadership skills flourished in the military environment: as a Paratrooper, a Jumpmaster, a combat veteran of multiple deployments and national disaster recovery relief efforts (Hurricanes Katrina and Rita), and a top secret security clearance Special Operations soldier.
SFC Tui married another Ft. Bragg soldier in 2000 and has three children, two boys and one girl. He continues to reach out to other wounded soldiers in their struggle to battle depression, and relationship difficulties with their families. He has been asked to address airmen and soldiers, newly wounded and able bodied about his experiences throughout his journey. As a Special Operations soldier who returned from Afghanistan quadriplegic, he is a subject matter expert on loss, anger, frustration, fear, depression, suicidal thoughts, crisis of faith, the possibility of divorce, self-determination, and hope. He and his wife are certified peer mentors with several national wounded/ill/injured military programs, including Wounded Warrior Project.
SFC Tuimalealiifano has battled to a point beyond what doctors believed was possible for him to ever achieve and has begun to explore the realm of competitive sports. Already in his debut, he has broken one national record and been awarded two gold medals. More importantly, he continues to pursue his recovery and gain progress in his mobility, function, bodily sensation and control. Most importantly, he continues to strive to model for his children what is most important – faith (in God), hope (never give up) and love (family).