The Haitian amputee soccer team continued their American Goodwill Tour in Little Rock by stopping at the local Chik Fil A to grab a bite first. The team walked in singing songs of praise and were graciously greeted by staff members. Marketing Director Kristine King led the team to their tables and had the help of her wonderful staff members bring the food out. The Haitian's enjoyed their meal so much that the smiles on their faces justified their satisfaction.
Afterwards the team arrived to the Eugene J. Towbin Health Care Center to hold a demonstration for the war veterans. The team members were guided to the front of the Recreation Center where they waited for the veterans to arrive. While they were waiting, they decided to sing songs of praise once again. All the employees and visitors walking by stopped and began gazing at the beauty of the song.
After all the veterans arrived, the Haitians did a meet and greet with the veterans. The Vice President and other members of the organization ABLE (Amputees Beyond Life's Expectations) were present to greet the Haitian amputee soccer team but they were in for a surprise. The Haitian's challenged the members to use some of the extra crutches they had to kick around the ball with the team. Since the members of ABLED were fitted with prosthetic legs, they had to adjust using crutches for the first time. It was at that moment that they understood what the Haitians had to endure to play at their level today.
As the two groups continued to interact, a small group of the Haitians went upstairs to do a small demonstration in front of another group of war veterans. Vice President of the Haitian Amputee Soccer Federation also joined to display his artwork. Once the two demonstrations came to a close, every available war veteran returned back to the Recreation Center to join in for a group picture.
Before everyone gathered up for a group photo, one of the Operation Go Quickly volunteers ran into a veteran named Tammy Clary. She was waiting outside the Recreation Center entrance with a look of curiosity on her face. When she was told that the Haitian amputee soccer team was inside she began to leap for joy. "Her zeal was so contagious that anyone next to her could feel it," said the Operation Go Quickly volunteer.
After the trip to the VA Hospital ended the team got prepared for a short practice session at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The team watched the women's soccer team wrap up their practice session and then Fred Sorrells was granted permission to do a quick presentation about the team afterwards. All the players on the women's soccer team and including staff were heartfelt by the testimonies of the players and even a few of them stayed to watch the Haitians practice.
However, during amputee soccer team's practice session a text message from Tammy changed the whole dynamic of the trip. She had written the following message to the volunteer she met at the VA.
"I've had a rough week because I get bullied a lot here and you guys welcomed me and that made my week so much better. God is so awesome and right on time because if something didn't happen soon I was thinking suicide was the only way out. I'll forever cherish this and want to help. Man it feels so good to meet people who have so much love. You guys saved me. Thanks a million."
Tammy (55) was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and left graduation night with her dad whom she never knew existed to San Francisco. She joined the Army and then the Navy. In 2013, she decided to come back to Arkansas to take care of her brother who was an alcoholic. Things didn't work out and she became homeless and jobless. In addition to that her mother's house was taken by the bank. Her doctor at the VA told her to come to Little Rock where she was placed into a homeless shelter. She had a rough time there because she never had been around addicts and violent felons. Long behold, God works in mysterious ways because they became her best friends. It was at that moment that she was able to inspire them to seek God. During that time she enrolled in college for the first time and started doing IT work for the VA at $2.5o an hour, but God provided her every need. After 3 months she got an apartment and sent her son to college and that same year she received a raise to $8.50 an hour.
One of the lesson's that Tammy has learned from this divine appointment is to never give up and always love your neighbor because God loves you so much.
Here are the details to the rest of the American Goodwill Tour:
Friday, August 18 6:00-9:00 pm Team performs at halftime of UALR-UCA women’s soccer match Team meet/greet fans – art exhibit during second half of match. Saturday August 19 3:00 pm Team plays a pickup game against the local soccer club at the Merrol Hyde Magnet School off of 128 Township Dr. Hendersonville, TN 37075. Wednesday August 23 7:00 pm Team will play against the FC Dallas Developmental Youth Team at the Coleman Complex off of 5801 Asher Ave. Little Rock, AR, 72204.
You can always find more information and ways to get involved by visiting the Operation Go Quickly website.
Operation Go Quickly