Lockheed Martin Manufacturing Engineering Manager Jose Daniel randomly ran into the Haitian Amputee Soccer team in Texas while they were training for the Cup of America in Irvine, California. After witnessing their raw talent during the practice session, Jose wanted to know more about the players and their stories. He spoke with Operation Go Quickly President Fred Sorrells and the end of the conversation left him speechless.
Jesson who lost his leg from a train accident was visiting his brother who recently graduated with an MBA from Boston. Somehow Fred Sorrells got in touch with Jesson and then connected him with Jose. Jesson's tragic story helped Jose connect with the Haitian amputee soccer players and at the moment he knew that this was no sheer coincidence but a divine intervention. He wanted the Haitians to showcase their skills and abilities throughout the local cities of Fort Worth so he immediately took charge by sending out a press release about his story.
Jose found his company's core values of respecting others, doing what is right and performing with excellence from every member of the Haitian soccer team. Because of that he began sharing his memorable moments amongst his co-workers and friends. Jose wanted to organize some exhibition matches in Texas but he wasn't certain if he could get everything organized in such a short span of time. However, he was determined to make it happen.
Meanwhile, the Haitian Amputee Soccer team drove out to California to play against the USA in the Cup of America championship match. The Haitians won the tournament with a final score of 5-0 against the USA. After the tournament, the team stayed for another week to spread awareness of amputee soccer in America, but more importantly a message of hope. The team toured through Santa Barbra and presented a showcase exhibition in front of the Santa Barbara Community Academy, St. Raphael Catholic Church and the children of Esportiko FC.
After their stay in California, the team returned to Texas with a huge surprise. Jose was able to organize tour dates for the Texas Goodwill Tour with the sponsorship of Lockheed Martin and with the support of local Soccer Associations/Clubs which were headed by coaches Russell Smith and Robert Maloy. They had all the venues, dates. times, and even volunteers for the events. Plus, Lockheed Martin added Operation Go Quickly to their list of charities.
The tour began on a Friday on the 11th of August at Aledo High School against the Aledo High School Soccer/Football team. The next day on Saturday the 12th, the team played against the girls youth club at Game On Athletics in Fort Worth. Then on Sunday the 13th, the team played against the youth team at Cartwright Park in Weatherford, Texas. The Haitians marched on for a short scrimmage match against the ladies of Fever United on Monday the 14th. Finally, on Tuesday August 15th, the team concluded their Texas tour against the FC Dallas girls U17 team at the Colleyville Covenant Church.
Every single event drew a large crowd and everybody left heartfelt by the testimonies of the Haitian amputee soccer players. Not only did they witness the raw talent of the players, but it provided them a new prospective on their lives. It taught the audience members how blessed they really are in the United States, despite what little they may have. In addition, everyone who witnessed the Haitians proved that as a whole they can accomplish something far bigger than themselves. It demonstrated what incredible things could be accomplished when a community comes together with love, compassion and empathy.
Jose created a domino effect because with every person he shared his story with, more people took the initiative to get involved. "It was an honor and a pleasure to have served the team," said Jose. After concluding the tour, he was even more determined to help start the first amputee soccer program in India.
Many countries today host hundreds of thousands disabled individuals and unfortunately their governments do not provide nor hold any programs of assistance to those people. Some countries like Haiti view the disabled as cursed, wretched. and useless. People spit on them and are afraid that they too will lose their limbs if they come in contact with an amputee. Slowly but surely, the Haitian Amputee Soccer team has disproved those primitive ideals and now they are delivering an effective message of hope to those they come in contact with.
The Haitians will conclude the remainder of the American Goodwill tour in Little Rock, Arkansas and Nashville Tennessee.
Here is following schedule for Little Rock:
Thursday August 17th:
1:00 pm Team visits North Little Rock VA Hospital 2:00 pm - Conduct a quick 15 minute orientation 2:15 pm - Visit with Veterans in near Recreation Center 2:30 pm - 1 st Floor North entrance Community Living Center 2:45 pm - talk with Amputees on CLC and in Atrium area 3:30 pm – Soccer exhibition (location TBD) 4:00 pm - Wrap up and depart Medical Facility
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