PEKIN, Ill. — The USA Patriots softball team faced off against the Pekin Police and Fire Department today. The Patriots, however, are not like most softball teams. It is made up of military veterans who have lost a limb in the line of duty.
“I got hurt in Afghanistan in 2009, I was a US Marine or am a US Marine. I lost both of my legs below the knee but I still have a purpose, I still have a mission to complete and that is to help other people it’s to serve beyond the military uniform,” said Patriots player Josh Wege, “The way I’m doing it is unique but it’s on a softball field now.”
Members of the team want to use softball as a vehicle to motivate and inspire people.
“Those bumps and scrapes that everyone goes through in life seem a little smaller when you see a group of 10 guys out there without limbs, but still being active still pushing boundaries and all that.”
The team hosts a kids camp each year where they bring 20 kids aged 8-12 with amputations and show them some tips about softball.
“We teach them how to play softball and we have a really good time. we mentor them and they’re like friends of ours for life. we’ve got 3 or 4 kids here today that are our batboys.” Said Patriots player Cody Rice.
This organization is also very beneficial to the players as they can connect and talk with other people that have been through similar circumstances.
The Patriots went on to win a nail biter… 18 to 17.
They will next travel to Florida to compete in another tournament.