Softball event showcases perseverance

Moraine Park president Bonnie Baerwald, Steve Pepper, and DeWayne Secton at softball event

We have been so pleased with the response to the Moraine Park blog, so I thought I would also contribute from my little corner of the world. As president of MPTC, I have the chance to meet a lot of amazing people on our campuses and in our communities.  I’ll attempt to give a glimpse into some of my encounters here.

Softball is a passion of mine, thus I jumped at the chance to attend the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (WWAST) event at Fond du Lac’s Lakeside Park Saturday, August 13th.  Steve Pepper (hat and sun glasses in the above photo), MPTC’s Student Veteran Specialist, and DeWayne Sexton, a student and active student government member, manned one of the wristband tents all day at the event.  As representatives of the Moraine Park Student Veterans Association, they proudly represented our college and the military service sacrifice that the Wounded Warriors organization embodies.

Members shared that WWAST was created to help in the healing process for wounded soldiers. These veterans have sustained severe injuries resulting in amputation, and through extensive rehabilitation, they have become competitive athletes again, playing against able-bodied teams in exhibition games across the country, including the game here August 13th. They also began a children’s softball camp in 2013 which now is the focal point of their fundraising and the highlight of their year.

wege photo

Josh Wege, a local celebrity from Wacousta, a small community near Campbellsport in Fond du Lac county, is a member of this elite team. He is also an alum of Winnebago Lutheran Academy high school – my alma mater.  Josh is a naturally gifted athlete who had a strong desire to relearn the game he loved after he became a double leg amputee in Afghanistan.  I’ve never met a more easy-going, eternally optimistic leader who embodies the strength and bravery of our military men and women.  He is an amazing athlete with a charismatic personality.  I love to watch him play ball!

rob photo

Rob Vandezande was part of the coordination team who brought the WWAST to Fond du Lac.  He is also a veteran, an amputee, and a Moraine Park recent graduate. One of his proudest moments this year was walking across the stage to receive his diploma and he is a proud alum and advocate for Moraine Park.

I am humbled to meet individuals like these, and proud that Moraine Park offers many benefits and services to our military friends.

Written by Bonnie Baerwald
President, Moraine Park Technical College