USA Patriots Amputee Softball Team took to the field in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The team’s mission is to bring athletic and veteran amputees together to promote the benefits of inclusive sport and therapeutic recreational activities.
While the main goal is to inspire others, the team doesn’t just go through the motions on the diamond, they are out there to win. Playing on the team also helps the veterans cope with their life changing injuries.
“I do it to connect with other guys who were injured but also it’s a chance to get out and play with other people” Air Force Veteran Reese Hines said, “We don’t all have the same injures but we do have a lot of similarities and shared experience, and being able to do that helps our state of mind and keeping in the right place.”
The team travels around the country to show people with disabilities that you can still get out there and live a normal life. Team members spoke about how much joy they get out of a kids camp that they host every year. 20 amputee kids come to the camp, and the players show them how to play while helping them build their confidence.
“Seeing kids come out of their shells and, you know, actually have a good time and enjoy themselves, you see that competitive fire lit” Hines said.
The team, as you can imagine, is pretty tight knit. It’s made up of veterans from around the country.
“The veterans community is small then you become an amputee and it becomes even smaller, so having this family is really great because you have someone to come home too you have someone to channel your questions through,” said Saul Monroy, a Marine Corp veteran.
Just by walking through the softball tournament the players were being stopped by people thanking them and asking about how they could support their cause. They say helping wounded warriors transition into a new phase of life while also teaching young amputees to embrace their injuries and learn how to excel through sports is a rewarding experience. The team inspires young and old alike, even catching the attention of Senator Dan Sullivan who stopped by to thank the team for all that they do.
“I think it is an inspiration, and I love their motto, ‘serving beyond the uniform’” Senator Sullivan said, “What these guys are doing is they are still serving their country, which is amazing, because they have all sacrificed in ways that any of us can understand or know.”
While the team is in Alaska they plan on visiting the veterans hospital, going fishing out of Seward and taking a flight seeing tour. If you didn’t get the chance to see them play in person the Pot of Gold Softball tournament continues June 13 at Cartee Fields.
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