Greg Gadson was handed the football by Plaxico Burress after Burress scored the winning touchdown that started a 10-game on-the-road winning-streak that took New York to the Super Bowl—and a win against the undefeated New England Patriots.
He was also handed the football by Corey Webster, the defensive back who intercepted Brett Favre’s pass (the last one Brett will throw in the NFL, as he has announced his retirement). On top of that, he was named an honorary co-captain of the Giants, and was invited to give a pep talk to the team the night before they played the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
A lieutenant colonel in the Army’s Warrior Transition Brigade, Gadson is a former West Point teammate of Giants wide receiver coach Mike Sullivan. Sullivan initially had invited Greg to address the team before they played Washington. At the time, the Giants had become discouraged after their first two losses of the season, and were assuming that all of their practice and preseason work was in vain.
From his wheelchair, Greg gave an inspiring speech. He talked about serving in Iraq that past spring, when a roadside bomb blew up the truck he was riding in, costing him both legs above the knees. He admonished the team to look toward the future instead of back at the past. “It’s not about what happens to you in life,” he said. “It’s about what you do about it. It’s about making the most of all your opportunities … because I’m here to tell you, it can end in a flash.”
Greg’s pep talks left a lasting impression on a team who suddenly realized they had a lot going for them, and they needed to quit complaining about each other and instead start working together as a team. Out of the challenges he had endured just months previously, he was able to bring hope and encouragement to a team that desperately needed it.
At Walter Reed Hospital, Greg Gadson experienced what happens when:
- Friends (from West Point) rally around someone in great need. (Philippians 2:4)
- You stay focused on what you have, not what you don’t have. (Philippians 2:14-18)
- Acts of kindness remind you of how powerful it is to be a part of a team. (Philippians 2:25-29)
- Adversity can bring out the fight in a person. (Philippians 3:12-14)
If things haven’t quite worked out the way you planned, consider Greg’s inspiring story … as well as Paul’s reminder that “God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 NIV)
By: Glenn Burris Jr., general supervisor