Wounded Warriors return to Binghamton with a message for fans

By Kelly McCarthy

May 16, 2014 Updated May 16, 2014 at 6:41 PM EDT

Endicott, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball team is making a return to NYSEG Stadium. The group is made up of Amputee Veterans who travel all over the nation becoming competitive athletes once again.

The Amputee Softball Team organized in 2011 and players said being part of the team has helped their healing process since injury.

Leonard Anderson lost his left hand and suffered severe burns when an IED exploded during his tour in Afghanistan. His K-9, Azzah, survived the explosion with him.

"Probably about a month or two in the hospital is when I woke up and realized look, this isn't going to change unless I make a difference," Anderson said, "and then from there it's been the sky's the limit."

Greg Reynolds returned from his deployment in Iraq uninjured, but lost his left arm in a tragic motorcycle accident.

"Life as I'd known ended," Reynolds said. "I didn't really want to live anymore. Life as I knew, with two arms, now, I have one arm and I lost a lot of weight. I was skinny, malnourished; I lost confidence as an individual."

When they each thought they had reached rock bottom, the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team gave them a new sense of purpose.

"There's a bond when you've served in the military that you always have and then the fact that we've all had some traumatic injury," said Todd Reed, who lost his right leg. "Playing on the ball field has just been so much fun."

Players said it has given the them a chance to be competitive again and put on a different type of uniform. But the message they send to their fans is one you'll have to see to believe.

"They come out and watch this guy missing both his legs dive for a ball, make a catch and throw it in for a double play," Reynolds said. "That's just so motivating."

Now, the team travels across the nation challenging local law enforcement teams at bat. They might all be missing a limb, but they're not missing their pride.

"We don't want nobody to take it easy on us, we're here to fight," Anderson said, "so we want to compete to win. Period."

Saturday's events start at 4 p.m. when The Patriot Guard will escort the team from the Holiday Inn in Binghamton to NYSEG Stadium. People are encouraged to come out and fly their flags to show support.

The first game will start at 6 p.m. against the Broome County Law Enforcement team.

The second game is at 8 p.m. against the BAE Systems Celebrity team.

Tickets are still available.