The past four years, Legends Golf and Country Club has held a Veterans Day Celebration Golf event to raise money to purchase special equipment for wounded veterans in Florida. This year was no different.
Thomas Michaud tightly gripped his club and took a breath before taking a swing, something he would not have been able to do a few years back. "I was pretty much confined to sitting around the house," Michaud said. "About seven years ago, I became disabled and currently I cannot walk at all."
Michaud never imagined he would be able to stand and play the golf again, but five years ago, everything changed.
He's one of many veterans who have received a specialized golf cart, or paramobile, to help integrate golf as part of their every day life.
"Using the game of golf has been a very powerful thing," says Anthony Netto, the founder of Stand Up and Play Foundation. "Until now we were left seated. Thanks to this special equipment we're actually enhancing blood circulation, preventing medical issues that put us back in the hospital."
The specialized golf cart costs approximately $25,000. This year, US Army Sgt. Joshua Cope is the recipient, but his fellow members at Fairways For Warriors are receiving it in his honor.
"The gentleman that's actually going to be using it is not here because of medical issues," Netto said.
Sgt. Cope served in Iraq in 2004-2006. On November 13, 2006, while serving his second tour of duty in Iraq, his Humvee struck an improvised explosive device (IED) in Baghdad. Two fellow soldiers were killed in the blast and Sgt. Cope lost both his legs above the knees. He also suffered a crushed hand.
However, the tragedy hasn't stopped him from being active. He continues to play golf, hunting, fishing and biking with his hand pedaled bike.
"They are giving hope to so many other people, Gladys Wood said. "You look at them and just applaud them."
If you would like to donate for another veteran to receive a paramobile, please visit www.standupandplayfoundation.org.