The mega Invictus Games 2017 were taking place in Toronto and many CAF supported athletes were there competing! We had a chance to do CAF get together while passing through with a great turnout of over 25 joining us for drinks and appetizers!Oh and Prince Harry was there, well at the Invictus Games with our friends Sharona and Amy. Invictus is a competition and celebration of challenged athletes who have experienced an injury while serving their country in the military. CAF has an Operation Rebound support effort (ably headed by Nico from the CAF staff , who everyone knew!) to help these service men and women partipate in sports. Sharona (on the right) from Orlando was struck 3 years ago with MS after a dozen years of serving in the Navy. She wasn’t an athlete but now competes and has such a sweet heart for helping others. Amy ( on the left with Prince Harry ) is also competing in multiple events at Invictus and we enjoyed getting to know these delightful young women! Austin was a paratrooper trainer instructor and after 200 jumps , many in Afghanistan he didn’t calculate his jump correctly and hit the ground at 65mph and broke his back leaving him in a wheel chair. Now he competes as a cyclist and that day in the Invictus games took a corner at full speed (he has full speed personality!) and had some serious road rash!Yet he and his family all showed up to join us for our get together! It was a treat as Austin shared that while it’s a bummer he had this accident, he knew what he was doing was dangerous and could catch up to him at some point, he acknowledged that many good things have happened in his life since the accident , now he has a very strong marriage, a beautiful daughter Nadia and the opportunity to help others who have physical disabilities…a indomitable spirit and a giving heart!!Dillon, who CAF has supported , was at Invictus for inspiration but participates in a myriad of sports ( loved his hat!). A good soul who was with his Mom Brenda who takes pictures of challenged athletes competing to educate the public about their abilities to be engaged in sports. The last group who came toward the end were all partipants at Invictus and so appreciative of CAF and Nico, they couldn’t say enough!We also met Adam who after 13 years of service in the Army lost his leg ( he was an explosive expert) but now is a triathlete. By the looks of his fitness I couldn’t keep up with him on a bike on my best day! A very engaging young man who is going to school to become a mental health counselor and work with others who are facing post military service disabilities….paying it forward!!
Finally we enjoyed Heather and this delightful couple! Heather is helping (on the right wearing CAF shirt) in Toronto with many Challenged athletes to train, apply for grants and equipment. She has dedicated herself to connecting others as she has experienced. My last picture is of sweet Martha who was the first to respond that she would join us, she was so happy to still be competing and involved in sports like wheel chair rugby! Doesn’t matter your age or your challenges, she is still out there and mixing it up and CAF is there with her!!
What a treat meeting these military service people who have given so much for the flag we honor and the freedom we enjoy. Helping them through CAF and Operstion Rebound is a way we can say thanks!!👍🇺🇸