Fifteen-year-old Boy Scout Ryan O. of the Del-Mar-Va Council has always had a passion for serving veterans. So when the Scout heard about a local wounded hero who needed support, he enlisted the help of his troop and other volunteers to give back to the man who sacrificed so much to protect our country.
Adam Keys, an injured war veteran of the war in Afghanistan, was a paratrooper assigned to the 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He stepped on an improvised explosive device while deployed in Afghanistan in 2010 and underwent more than 130 surgeries, spending five years and 13 days in the hospital. He lost his left forearm and both legs below the knee.
“After a few months at the hospital, you kind of say, ‘Man, my career just ended essentially, what am I going to do next?’ and some great organizations like Wounded Warriors, Patriots Honor Organization and these young Scouts come help out in the yard – they are my saviors,” Keys said to Capital Gazette.
A Scout’s Passion to Give Back
Left a triple amputee, Keys found everyday tasks like home upkeep and outdoor chores to be nearly impossible – that’s where Ryan knew he could help out.
Ryan wanted to provide a safe, clean space Keys could enjoy at his Annapolis home, so he and other Scouts gathered at the veteran’s home to level the ground and clear debris in his yard. Ryan says their efforts will be ongoing and they plan to continue the project over next month.
But the Scout didn’t stop there. He also contacted Warrior Events, an Annapolis-based nonprofit that helps wounded veterans and their families, and connected the group with Keys.
Ryan’s mother, Karen, said she was proud of her son, who has “a lot of respect for soldiers and what they’ve sacrificed.”
“I feel like Adam is having such a positive influence on our boys,” Karen shared. “I don’t know anybody who’s so positive.”
After experiencing the overwhelming support from the Scouts and other volunteers, Keys says he plans to spread the word to other injured war veterans so they, too, can see how much support and encouragement is available to them.
“All I can do is pay it forward and try to spread the word that there are people out there who do care, so service members know there is support out there,” he said.
Learn more about how these Scouts are making a difference to this wounded veteran by reading the full story on the Capital Gazette.