MADISON, Ala.- The USA Patriots formerly known the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team played two games in Madison Saturday.
This is their fifth year to visit the Tennessee Valley.
Executive Director Desiree Ellison says the team consists of veterans from across the country. They travel and play able bodied teams. Saturday’s games were against teams from Madison Academy and Redstone Arsenal.
“It’s interesting. We’re all missing limbs and we play a team of people who have all of their limbs so it’s pretty inspiring to watch,” says Ellison.
“Life without limbs is limitless.” That’s the team motto for the USA Patriots.
Greg Reynolds is one of the original members of the team that was selected back in 2011.
“No matter what life throws at you, you can get back up and live an active lifestyle if you so choose to,” says Reynolds.
Reynolds enlisted in 2001 right after 9/11 at only 17 years old. He was in the heart of the invasion of Iraq.
“I was a driver and machine gunner in a transportation battalion attached to the fourth infantry division. I saw and experienced a lot which made me realize how lucky we are in America.”
Before Reynolds second deployment, life took a turn.
“I was on my motorcycle when a driver pretty much blew a stop sign and in three seconds I went from being in control of my life to fighting for my life,” says Reynolds.
Reynolds suffered traumatic brain injury and a slim chance for survival.
“When I woke up six weeks later from a coma I came to realize how lucky I am to have survived that but it was like how do I piece together everything,” said Reynolds.
He says being part of the USA Patriot team has brought him both camaraderie and healing.
“We come together with one mindset to come out here, be our best self, and compete. And by doing that it helps us in our post-recovery but also serves as an example for everyone who watches us,” says Reynolds.
An example to others that anything is possible.
“When life knocks you down, try and land on your back because if you can look up you can get up,” says Reynolds.
Ellison says the organization has evolved over the years. Being a part of the USA Patriots gives these veterans the opportunity to give back to the community.
“Our purpose started out for the veterans and evolved into the larger organization that it is today. We spend a lot of time doing these events so that we can fundraise for our annual kids camp that we hold every year for children who also have missing limbs. It’s a great opportunity for the kids to see adults who also have amputations learn to play sports and be a part of something bigger than themselves as well,” says Ellison