Winning Gold in Sochi

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August 06, 2014

2014 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team

In November 2013, as part of our biannual grant-making process, the MAXIMUS Foundation awarded a charitable grant to Operation Comfort. Based in San Antonio, Operation Comfort provides rehabilitative services to wounded veterans in the forms of financial assistance, career resources and various athletic programs. Among these programs is the San Antonio Rampage, the first sled hockey team comprised entirely of wounded service members, three of whom became Olympic gold winners in 2014.

Army Sergeant Jen Lee, Army Staff Sgt. Rico Roman and Marine Corps Sergeant Josh Sweeney all underwent major amputations at some point over their military careers. Operation Comfort, as it has done for many wounded service members, approached them during their rehabilitation periods, soon bringing the three of them together as team members on the Rampage. Their exceptional abilities and tenacity led them to joining the 2014 U.S. Paralympic Team in Sochi, along with retired Marine Corps Corporal Paul Schaus.

After a rigorous journey, in which their only loss had been against the hometown Russian team, the U.S. team was again matched against Russia in the final game. With a game-winning goal from Sweeney to put them up 1-0, the U.S. players eventually prevailed to take home the gold medal. In an interview afterward, when asked what the best part of his journey had been, Staff Sgt. Roman stated, “The best part is hopefully inspiring other people to become active again whether they are veterans with disabilities or civilians with disabilities.”

Roman, who is in fact married to a former MAXIMUS employee, expressed thanks to all of his sponsors. For Roman and many other wounded veterans, organizations like Operation Comfort and the MAXIMUS Foundation have supported them in reaching their highest potentials. Sometimes a little push is all we need, even on ice.

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