NEWPORT, R.I. — It was a full house at Cardines Field Monday night for the annual military appreciation event.
What made the night more special was a life-changing surprise for an Army veteran who lost his leg while serving in Iraq.
United States Army Sergeant Brandon Deaton of Brunswick, Maine was in attendance Monday night alongside his wife.
After the second inning of the Gull’s, Deaton was brought out onto the 3rd baseline by Sarah Verardo.
Verardo, a native of Barrington, Rhode Island, is the CEO of ‘The Independence Fund‘, the organization donated the all-terrain, tracked wheelchair.
Verardo told Eyewitness News it was a special moment for her to be able to give this life-changing wheelchair in front of a crowd in her home state.
Verardo now lives in North Carolina with her husband Michael.
After her husband was catastrophically wounded in Afghanistan and has since undergone 120 surgeries since 2010.
She is now giving new hope to veterans and their families across the country like Brandon Deaton.
Deaton is excited to be able to take his dog on walks and even plow the snow next winter. All because of the gift of an all-terrain wheelchair.
“I got to test drive one of these at the Travis Mills Foundation over the Fourth of July holiday and they are pretty sweet. It’s going to be awesome having one of these,” Deaton said. “I am so grateful for the Independence Fund and to meet all of these wonderful people.
The wheelchair cost $16,000 and Deaton says it’s like driving a tank.