December 19, 2020
Ben Edwards is a 16-year old Boy Scout from Lee’s Summit who was on the hunt for a service project that would help him earn Eagle Scout. His criteria– to find something he was passionate about.
Ben was born without a left femur bone and has faced similar obstacles as wounded warriors who must learn to navigate life with a prosthetic. Three years ago, Ben tried out wheelchair basketball and has since become an avid adaptive sports athlete. His love of wheelchair sports inspired him to find a service project that would help others benefit from adaptive sports – just as he had.
It didn’t take long for him to learn about Wounded Warrior Project’s Adaptive Sports team. WWP’s Adaptive Sports program connects some of the most seriously wounded veterans with modified sports equipment and exercise routines that are specialized for each warrior’s unique injury. WWP reaches into local communities to help warriors receive the tools and assistance needed to participate in adaptive sports, including connecting them with local competitions and adaptive sports teams. Put simply, adaptive sports allow wounded warriors to enjoy the sports they loved before they were injured. It gives them an outlet to rediscover independence in recreational and competitive settings.
As luck would have it, WWP houses a variety of adaptive sports equipment to support local wounded warriors at Hy-Vee arena in Kansas City. The equipment includes sport wheelchairs, hand and recumbent cycles, and more. What many don’t know is that modifications to the adaptive sports equipment can make the items bulky – hard for storage and transportation to and from events. Pre-COVID, WWP was looking at ways to increase the functionality of the adaptive sports storage facility and the equipment it housed. Ben and his father, Steve, worked closely with WWP to brainstorm ideas on how to create a storage system that allowed for quicker, easier access to the equipment and would better serve local wounded warriors participating in the WWP Adaptive Sports program.
In true representation of a Scout project leader, Ben oversaw a team of dedicated volunteers – from members of Boy Scout Troop 323 from Lee’s Summit, Ben’s wheelchair basketball team, high-school friends, and even family. It took tireless hours, but together they created boxed shelving – on wheels – that would hold each piece of equipment.
This Saturday, Ben and a handful of troops from Scout Troop 323 delivered the final project to WWP and put the new storage system in place.