Special Forces Soldier, Blinded in Battle, Determined to Keep Serving

CPT Ivan Castro: US Army Special Operations

Your dreams are not impossible!

When Kyle Maynard was 14 years old, he put his own socks on for the first time — not an easy thing to do for a young man with virtually no arms and no legs. The first sock took him 30 minutes. The second one took him 15 minutes. Facing challenges and succeeding has been the hallmark of the life of Kyle Maynard, who made a name for himself into a high school wrestling champ and now as an adult, looks to inspire others with what he can do. ESPN has the story of Kyle’s riskiest challenge ever… a transformative moment… for a guy who now gets his socks on… in 60 seconds.

Learn more at

Meet Ava, the 5 year old with a heart the size of North Carolina!
Ava is five years old and in kindergarten.  Ava will tell you that some of her favorite things to do include riding horses, art, math, reading and swimming; when Ava starts talking about her favorite things, her face lights up, and her brown eyes sparkle.  Ava has many talents and interests. Like other children her age, Ava enjoys going out to play in her yard and playing with her family and friends.Story about Ava

However, unlike many other children, Ava needs to be carried by someone to be able to play in her yard.  Ava cannot walk.  Ava has spina bifida, and uses a wheelchair to get around.

Someone born with spina bifida has an opening in the spine. A healthy spine is closed to protect the spinal cord, a bundle of nerves that sends messages back and forth between your brain and the rest of your body.

Because of the opening in the spine, the nerves of the spinal cord may be damaged. A spinal cord that’s damaged may not be able to do the important job of getting messages to and from the brain. Usually when your brain says “kick the ball,” the nerves of your spinal cord carry that message that tells your leg to kick.
These messages may not be able to get through if a person has spina bifida. The person may not be able to move their muscles the way other people do.

Each year the disAbility Resource Center chooses one individual or family to receive a gift that will enhance their life.  This year, Ava and her family had a ramp built at their home.  This ramp will allow Ava the independence to play with her family in her yard.  This gift also means that Ava will be able to enter her home without having to be carried by her mother or father.

dRC is able to make this gift due to the generosity of the St. Andrews Covenant Church “Shelter Care” group. All of the building materials and labor hours were donated.  Ava and her family are thrilled to receive this gift, and just in time for Ava’s 6th birthday.  For her birthday, Ava hopes to have a party in her backyard with her friends and family where she can show them her new ramp and her new independence.