August 14, 2008, Augusta, GA – Scott Winkler is one of thousands who have fought for our country, but soon he’ll stand alone…representing America, as the first Iraq War veteran to be in the 2008 paralympics, a goal that even he thought he would never accomplish.
To some, he’s an inspiration…
Christopher Bryant, Scott Winkler’s friend: “Knowing that the disabled are able to compete and achieve goals, that they didn’t think they would be able to do, is a big inspiration.”
To others, he’s more…
Ceabron Yearwood, Scott Winkler’s friend: “I look up to him as a role model. I think most people should.”
Scott Winkler has been through more than many could even imagine. He was paralyzed in 2003, while serving in Iraq, and hit rock bottom, not knowing what his future would hold.
Scott Winkler, Paralympian: “You know ,I was once a soldier, now what am I going to do with my time? And you know, what’s out there? And it wasn’t easy. And the anger slowly went away, and then the depression kicked in worse.”
While recovering, Winkler beat the depression and discovered his hidden talent of shot put. That talent amounted to much more…a spot in the 2008 Paralympics, and a chance to represent America, again.
Scott Winkler: “Now there’s a lot of nerves, because I have the weight of the U.S. on my shoulders. And that’s…like a soldier, you never leave a soldier behind. And it’s like, now as an athlete, I don’t want to let my country down or leave them behind.”
In April, Winkler was recognized as in inspiration to the country, and was asked to have dinner with the President.
Scott Winkler: “While in the military, I served under him for 2 terms, and he was my Commander-in-Chief. And, to meet him personally, one on one, you know, shaking hands with him, having dinner with him, I mean that is one of the greatest honors.”
As Winkler’s friends send him off, hoping to see him become Augusta’s next ‘Golden Boy’…he says his purpose in life remains to be an inspiration to others, but that bringing home a gold medal can prove that any dream can come true.
Scott Winkler: “Winning that gold is more for the U.S., and everybody in it…for the soldiers and civilians. I mean, if I win it, I have achieved everything I can for my country, and my uncle.”
Winkler leaves for the Olympic Training Center, August 21st. Beijing’s opening ceremony is September 6th.
Winkler says he doesn’t know yet when he will throw.