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Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team Visits Utica

Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team Visits Utica
Encouraging the community to come out and give blood in my honor is my family’s way of giving back to the Red Cross and helping replenish the blood supply.

The First Aid Station team from the Mohawk Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross provided first aid support as the national Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team played a doubleheader May 10 at Murnane Field in Utica.

The Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team (WWAST) features some of our nation’s bravest and most determined heroes, soldiers and veterans. These young and determined men and women sustained severe injuries resulting in amputation while serving in the military, and through extensive rehabilitation they have become competitive athletes again. Their armor now includes prosthetic legs and arms, along with extreme perseverance and a positive attitude.

The Wounded Warriors’ team is made up of 15 players split between Army and Marine veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, all of whom have had at least one limb amputated. This is the second year that the WWAST has traveled around the country, raising awareness of the sacrifices and resilience of military personnel despite the challenges arising from being an amputee. The players’ goal is to demonstrate that unlimited possibilities exist for those with disabilities – and they proved that on May 10 as they won both games of the doubleheader! They defeated the Central New York First Responders (comprised of local police and fire personnel) and a team from the 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum.

In addition to watching the games, visitors were able to sign up for the June 29 blood drive in Chadwicks, Oneida County, sponsored by WWAST member Greg Reynolds. Greg is a decorated Iraq combat veteran who was involved in a life-threatening motorcycle accident on June 22, 2008. He received 101 units of blood.

“Every day blood donors give the gift of life hoping to help complete strangers like me,” Greg said. “Encouraging the community to come out and give blood in my honor is my family’s way of giving back to the Red Cross and helping replenish the blood supply.”

Greg suffered a traumatic brain injury and lost his arm in the accident but has made a miraculous recovery. In fact, Greg clouted a game-winning, walk-off home run in the game against the CNY First Responders!

In the photo, Rosie Taravella, Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross Central New York Region (left), SAF Regional Manager Edith Buffalohead, and Mohawk Valley Chapter Disaster Services and First Aid Station volunteer Mike Witkowski, a veteran, get ready to enjoy the Wounded Warriors in action.