We honor United States veterans for their sacrifice, but we aren't always aware of the difficulties they face once they're done with their service, and integrate back into American life.
Organization Quality of Life + is working to change that. It brings together America's brightest students to create life-transforming assistive technology for our country's wounded heroes.
William Mathis is an army veteran who served in Iraq from 2008 to 2013. During his time there, he sustained a mortar attack that aggravated an underlying cause of glaucoma which he says brought him to the vision impairment he deals with today.
"I kind of, you know, sat in an area of my life where I wasn't sure where I was going to move forward to from there," Mathis said. "Not sure how to live life anymore, how to go and do anything. And then finally went to the VA's blind rehab center in 2016 and started to learn how to go and live life as a blind individual."
It was there that he discovered his love for golf. He now competes through the U.S. Blind Golf Association and is ranked 10th best in the world. He's ranked 2nd in the United States.
However, he still has some difficulties when it comes to putting. So he reached out to Quality of Life + which connected Mathis with Colorado School of Mines engineer, Brock Leiker, whose team of stem students created a putter that can stand on its own.
"Because we were making something that is atypical, we had to do a lot of research into regulations to make sure that his club was going to be legal and that he could still use it in competition," Leiker said.
If you are a veteran or first responder in need of a unique project like this, visit qlplus.org/becomeachallenger.
Quality of life + aims to improve the lives of veterans and first responders all over the U.S.