IOMS Leaders –
Yesterday afternoon, I was asked to represent Mr. Bishop & corporate InDyne at several events at Disney’s Magic Kingdom and EPCOT in Orlando. The first event was lowering the flag at Disney’s main street to honor the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (WWAST) and the second event was to join the team for dinner/fireworks at EPCOT to honor the members of the WWAST organization and the kids attending the organization’s first annual Kids Camp being conducted at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex this week.
Oh boy, was I ever unprepared for the experience of meeting the members of this awesome organization and the flood of emotions I encountered during my brief time with the team and the kids (and their parents). InDyne is one of the corporate sponsors of the WWAST program and the premier sponsor of the Kid’s Camp this week, so I was attending last night’s events wearing the InDyne brand name as a sponsor. Wow, little did I realize how the support Mr Bishop and InDyne is providing this program is touching the lives of the families of children who have lost a limb due to sickness, cancer, illness, etc. I went to the event yesterday being totally ignorant of the WWAST organization but I left the park last night being totally bought in on this wonderful organization and the difference they are making. Since I didn’t know that much about InDyne’s involvement in WWAST prior to arriving at the park, I’m betting some of you don’t know either, so I’ll take a minute to share what I saw and experienced during my limited 5 hours with these heroes yesterday afternoon.
Let me start with a brief description of WWAST -- the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (WWAST) mission is to raise awareness, through exhibition and celebrity softball games, of the sacrifices and resilience of our military, and highlight their ability to rise above any challenge. Our goal is to show other amputees and the general population, that these athletes through extensive rehabilitation and training are able to express their desires and perform the sport they loved before being injured serving their country. WWAST team members represents some of our nation’s bravest and most determined heroes, soldiers and veterans. These young extremely athletic men have sustained severe injuries resulting in amputation while serving in the military/war, and through extensive rehabilitation, they have become competitive athletes again. While no longer serving in the military in harm’s way, their armor now includes prosthetic legs and arms, along with extreme perseverance and attitude.
Why is the WWAST visiting Orlando this week? WWAST is proud to host its first annual Kids Camp for children with amputations or missing limbs. The Camp is teaching softball fans ages 8-12 how to play the game, despite their physical challenges. It’s part of the WWAST mission to show people that life-altering doesn’t have to mean life-ending, and that it’s still possible to follow your passions after an injury. 20 children (and their families) from across the U.S. are attending this week’s Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball TeamTM Kids Camp 2013 in Orlando, FL, with clinics Tuesday through Friday mornings, beginning at 8:30am at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World® Resort. On Friday, June 14, the Kids Camp attendees will play a game at Champion® Stadium at 7PM, followed by a WWAST vs. Orlando Celebrity Team game.
The Wounded Warrior members are conducting softball clinics each day this week with the children who have traveled to Orlando this week from all parts of the US. Then tomorrow night, at 7PM, at Champion’s Stadium in the ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex, the kids will play the WWAST in a softball game. At the conclusion of that game, the Wounded Warriors will then play a charity game against local Orlando celebrities, including Major League Baseball’s Johnny Damon and Olympic Gold Medalist, Dot Richardson. Tickets for tomorrow night’s events are $16 for adults, $11 for children. I plan to make the trip over tomorrow after work, I hope some of you can join me. I know Mr Bishop and his wife, Jeff Riemer and his wife and others plan to attend.
I’ve atch’d three photos I took last night, the first one is the honored member of the team that held the flag during the retreat ceremony; the 2nd
picture is of the entire WWAST, and the 3rd
photo is the WWAST and the kids attending this week’s sports camp. What a humbling evening for me last night and it ended up being one of my most memorable nights in a very long time. I wanted to spread the word about what InDyne is doing to support this awesome cause. I recommend you check out the web site at www.woundedwarrioramputeesoftballteam.org
. I hope to see some of you in Orlando tomorrow evening.