SVE-Jason-MorganMany parishioners have had the joy of volunteering at Spring Valley Elementary school. From assisting children in choosing holiday gifts for their families, delighting in creative learning through enrichment clusters to teaching children to read, there are many opportunities to participate. Recently Maggie Sharer, Bee Skinner and Annette Randall read stories to children with the theme of Winter. After reading volunteers and children made snowmen out of marshmallows.

In addition to assisting with coordinating volunteers, Annette Randall has connected SVE with speakers through her community outreach work. Most recently she brought Jason Morgan to speak for Veterans’ Day. Here is some of Jason’s story:

I enlisted in the Air Force in 1989 and worked as a combat weatherman. We were an Airborne Unit that provided for Army special operations on missions and behind enemy lines. In 1999, while on a counter narcotics mission in South America I was nearly fatally wounded in a jeep accident while under fire.

I woke up two months later from a coma, paralyzed from the waist down. After being told of my injuries and limitations, I came to the decision that would not be my future. I became very active in sports and competed on Team Air Force in the Military Paralympic Games winning medals in swimming, wheelchair basketball, track and field events. Also using adaptive equipment I water and snow ski, SCUBA dive, fly private planes and more. Most recently I achieved a long time dream of mine by competing in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. pushing all 26.2 miles in my racing wheelchair.

Although I am no longer in the military, the importance of service to my country continues to be an important part of who I am, and I have found other ways to serve. Along with my service dog, Nepal, I volunteer at local hospitals by visiting patients. I travel all over the country talking to other disabled veterans about highly trained service dogs. I speak locally at different clubs, events, and schools educating kids about disabilities, service dogs, and overcoming adversity.

I am the single father of three teenage boys that keep my life busier than all of my travel and sports combined. My disability has allowed me to show my sons that there are no excuses in life that justify not achieving your goals. You may have to change the rules, but you don’t have to quit the game.

Annette explained that Jason’s talk focused most on his recovery and his work with wounded warriors. He also demonstrated some of the 49 skills Nepal has that help him every day. Both students and teachers were “wowed” by his presentation. What a wonderful example of serving. If you would like to participate in service at SVE contact Annette Randall, Becky Pruessner or Maggie Sharer.