More American Heroes
Paul Schaus Josh Sweeney Rico Roman
Recognize these guys? No? Really? OK, I didn’t either…until Saturday. That’s when I read a newspaper article about Josh Sweeney. It was so interesting I Googled him (since when is a made up word like Googled actually a verb?). Anyway, it seems that he is a member of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey team. AND…wait for it…OK…ready?…he made the winning, in fact the only, goal for Team Semper Fi to win a gold medal at the Sochi Olympics.
Everyone on the Paralympic Sled Hockey team is either an amputee or has a medical condition rendering one or both legs immobile. Hence the name Paralympic. These three guys, however, are also ‘Wounded Warriors’. Paul, Josh, and Rico are all military veterans wounded in action overseas.
Josh Sweeney, 27, from Glendale (Phoenix) Arizona, joined the Marines in 2005 right out of high school. In October 2009, while serving in Nowzad, Afghanistan he stepped on an IED (improvised explosive device) losing both his legs. Josh spent months in rehab at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. He had been a hockey player in high school and after being discharged he tried a few adaptive sports, but he had never heard of sled hockey. Then he went to a sled hockey game with his family and inspiration struck.
He began playing and in 2011 he made the USA Hockey national team. In 2012 they won the International Paralympic Committee Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships A in Hamar, Norway. Then the team took silver in the 2013 world championships. In December 2013, he was nominated to the 2014 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team by USA Hockey,
Rico Roman, 33, is from Portland Oregon. He graduated high school in 2000 and joined the Army. In 2007, he lost his left leg to an IED during his third tour in Iraq. He was introduced to sled hockey by Operation Comfort, an organization dedicated to assisting injured U.S. service personnel while at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.
From 2009-11, Rico was a member of the San Antonio Rampage Sled Hockey club, which is made up entirely of military veterans. He also played with the Dallas Stars sled team in 2012, helping the team to the 2012 USA Hockey Sled Classic Division A Championship.
Rico also participates in handcycling, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair football. Within a year of his amputation, Roman completed two bike marathons and rode 150 miles in a day to raise money for multiple sclerosis research. He currently lives in Wincrest, Texas with wife and two children.
Twenty five year old Marine Paul Schaus from Buffalo, NY, lost both his legs to a landmine in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on June 5, 2009 while on his second deployment. He was first airlifted to Landstuhl, Germany. He was eventually transferred state-side and spent a month at Bethesda Naval Medical Center before finally being moved to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Paul began playing Sled Hockey on the USA Warrior Hockey Team while still in rehab. He played two seasons (2010-2011) with the USA Warriors. Paul also played with the Buffalo Sabres Sled Hockey Team, and helped them win two straight USA Hockey Sled Classic Championship titles in 2011 and 2012. After a year on the U.S. National Development Sled Hockey Team from 2011-12, Paul made the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team for the 2012-13 season.
Paul has just started his second season on the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team
All three of these Warriors have received the Purple Heart for their service.
Paul Schaus Rico Roman Josh Sweeney
More Wounded Warriors
J. R. Martinez – Actor, Motivational speaker, Army veteran, burned over 34% of his body while serving in Iraq.
Chris Van Etten – Model, Marine veteran, wounded in Afghanistan
Alex Minsky – Model, Marine veteran, wounded in Afghanistan
Brad Ivanchan – Model, Marine veteran, wounded in Afghanistan
Colin Wayne – Model, Army veteran, wounded in Afghanistan
Thanks for your service. Thanks for your sacrifice.
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