HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The City of Huntsville proudly welcomed back the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (WWAST) this weekend for a series of games at the Metro Kiwanis SportsPlex on Patton Road.
WWAST played a double-header on Saturday, October 22. The first game was against Team Redstone and the other against Huntsville Protectors - a team of first responders comprised of police, fire and other emergency personnel.
The team's visit was presented by the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Redstone, Huntsville Young Professionals (YP), the City of Huntsville, and the Huntsville Sports Commission.
This year’s presenting sponsor was System Studies & Simulation (S3).
"We are excited to have the team back in Huntsville, Alabama! These men and women are true heroes and we greatly appreciate their service to our country." said Leo Gilliland, AUSA Redstone-Huntsville YP President.
AUSA is a private, non-profit educational organization that supports America's Army - Regular Army, National Guard, Reserve, Retirees, Government Civilians, Wounded Warriors, Veterans, concerned citizens and family members. AUSA provides numerous Professional Development Opportunities at a variety of events both local and national. AUSA represents every American Soldier by:
• Being the voice for all components of America's Army
• Fostering public support of the Army's role in national security
• Providing professional education and information programs
As the premier voice for America's Soldiers, AUSA is a dedicated team committed to building the best professional and representative association for the world's best Army.
"We are thrilled to be back and playing in Huntsville again. Our games in Alabama back in 2012 really jump started our team and organization showing we could compete against able-bodied opponents. We are also very aware of The Tennessee Valley and its a strong support of the military and Veterans," said Josh Wege, WWAST Player and Chairman of the Board. Working on this venue, we have seen firsthand the strong pride that the people of Alabama display for military personnel and Wounded Warriors and it is very gratifying to see the recognition for those that have served our country."
The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team works 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. The Team is comprised of young, competitive, athletic veterans and active duty personnel who have lost limbs post-9/11, while serving their country in combat. The WWAST includes veterans with a variety of amputations of the arm, above knee, below knee, bilateral below knee, and foot.
The WWAST was founded in 2010 as a standalone 501(c)(3) public charity. Learn more at woundedwarrioramputeesoftballteam.org.
"We expect to win"
Josh Wege is a retired Lance Corporal in the Marine Corps and at just the age of 19 his life changed forever. “Our vehicle hit a 200 pound bomb. I lost both of my legs below the knee," says Wege. “I was a Marine. I don’t know what quit means and when I got hurt, I just focused and made it just another obstacle to get over.”
As a part of his recovery, he treaded one uniform for another. “When we first started, it was just a chance to get out of the hospital," Wege says. “It taught me to push myself. It also taught me what I can and cannot handle and ‘I can’t handles’ is a very short list because everything that I’ve been able to do or want to do, I’m still able to in some way shape or form, I’m able to figure out.”
His story is just one of many on this team, filled with lessons of sacrifice and resilience. “Left field is gonna have a different comeback story than the right field. It’s what makes this team truly unique and special and I think people need to hear that kind of stuff," he says.
Both teams will be vying for dramatic catches and even bigger hits, but the real winner this weekend will be the fans. “You’ll see guys making daring plays, you’ll see guys running out of their prosthetic legs, they’ll literally fall off because that’s how fast they’re moving. You’ll see a little bit of everything but you’ll definitely not see anybody quit," says Wege.
While most in the stands will never face a battle as hard or life changing, everyone can relate to the lessons behind it. “Everybody’s got their own battles that they deal with. My battles started when I lost my legs. It was just something I had to overcome," he says.
The weather will be beautiful all day Saturday. You may need a jacket for the first game as temperatures will still be in the low 60s. The sky stays sunny and there is no threat of rain.