TOLEDO (WTVG) – As we get ready to honor all of America’s fallen heroes on Memorial Day, wounded warriors from all over the country are heading to Toledo in a matter of hours.
This is the third time the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team has made the trip to our city. They’re here to play a few softball games Saturday, but their trip is about so much more than that.
The games are a chance for these American heroes, to show others that the loss of a limb doesn’t have to slow you down. That message has been a home run with a lot of people.
Connor Bell is just like a lot of other 13-year-olds. He’s active and enjoys a lot of sports, “I play baseball, I snow board, I ride a bike. I am a brown belt in karate. I run with my friends and ride a scooter.”
However, unlike most other kids his age, Connor had his leg amputated when he was five-years-old because of bone cancer. Connor went to his first Wounded Warrior game a few years ago.
Watching the men who play this game has helped him realize he can do anything anyone else can, “I think it is satisfying to see them hit the ball and it goes hundreds of feet in the air over the fence, it’s always so cool.”
Connor’s dad Dave spent more than 25 years in the Air Force, “It’s personal to me.”
Dave volunteers his time along with a lot of others to bring the Wounded Warrior team to Toledo, “You will be amazed when you watch these guys play. They are knocking them out of the ballpark.”
Dave says in addition to seeing some great games, people will also be helping children like Connor. A portion of the proceeds are used to help send kids who have lost a limb to camp. Connor was one of the kids able to attend camp with the players, “20 kids go to the camp every year and each and every one of them comes out of there changed.”
That’s not only the goal of the camp, but also the games. Jay Schramm is a retired Toledo Police Detective and co-chair of the event. He says the team has a simple mission, “The team started traveling to raise awareness about their motto which is life without a limb is limitless. They go out there on the field and show others that life goes on after an amputation. You can do amazing things from that point on.”
So with each crack of the bat at the Wounded Warrior games, lives are changed. And that makes everyone who is part of this, a winner.
The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team games are Saturday at the Mercy Health field on Holland Sylvania. The team will play three games. Their opponents will include Toledo Police Department officers, veterans and members of a local senior softball league.
Our very own Justin Feldkamp will be lacing up the cleats for one of the games.