May 3, 2014 8:26 PM by Greg Smith
A day of hockey, a lifetime of good.
Wounded warrior project encouraged its veterans, fresh off the soldier ride Thursday, to stop by the air force hockey rink for a game of sled hockey. Many have never been on the ice before.
"Yes, it was my first time," said David Villado laughing. "I guess I don't have any sense of balance, so it was kind of hard for me. I'm a little wore out."
"This is my first time doing this and, let me tell you, it's a workout," Mark Villado said with a laugh. I'm ready for a nap."
Mark and David Villado are two brothers with more than 20 combined years in the Army. Both of them were injured during in tours in the middle east, and both found new brothers after just minutes on the ice.
"Half these people I don't even know," said David. "But you meet and make new friends, and it's a good for you."
"That's what these things are," said Mark. "You go out, forget about your problems, have fun, and then go from there."
It started as one brother helping the other by convincing him to joining the Wounded Warrior Project, now both have found countless new brothers to help and support, thanks to various WWP events like this one.
"A lot of soldiers get hurt, they try to keep that to themselves," said David. "I had the days where you feel like you're not worth anything. Some days I couldn't even get out of bed. Being part of the program, and speaking with other veterans, you kind of open up. It helps soldiers be able to continue to live their normal life."
"You may look fine on the outside, but on the inside you're like me, with depression," said Mark. "There were times I would lock myself in my room and not go out for weeks at a time. Just because you lost a leg, or look different, that doesn't mean we don't all come out brothers."
Brothers by blood were brothers in a struggle. Now epitomize brotherhood to others.
The warriors were taught how to move and shoot on the sleds by the same group that provided the equipment for the day, the Colorado Adaptive Sports Foundation out of Denver. Colorado Springs is hoping to start their own sled hockey team, and they could always use more members. If you're interested in joining or helping out, email firstname.lastname@example.org