Local coach featured in inspirational Dove video for Wounded Warrior Games

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Lee Montgomery is an athlete, coach, and mentor with a host of accomplishments. It's apparent he faces challenges head on. Despite the challenges of being a double amputee, he said he's never let it slow him down. He recently starred in an inspirational Dove Men+ Care video.

Montgomery has the opportunity to work with wounded warriors next weekend. The Mississippi nativeĀ got his momentum from Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital.

"This rehab hospital is my second home away from home. Since I was 5 years old," Montgomery said.

He was inducted into the National Wheelchair Basketball Association Hall of Fame. He's served as a volunteer coach with Mary Free Bed's adaptive sports program for years and now has the honor of serving those who've served our country.

"Being able to help the wounded warriors gives me my opportunity to give back," Montgomery said.

Next weekend, he'll manage the logistics for the basketball competition at the U.S. Department of Defense Warrior Games in Colorado.

"With me being born with my disability, it allows me to share some of my experiences [and] some of the challenges that they're going to face as becoming disabled," Montgomery explained.

Maria Besta, manager of Mary Free Bed's Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports Program said, "I have known him for 20-something years. He's been a great inspiration to any child that comes through our program. He always gives of his time. We never have to think twice. We just ask Lee, and he's there for us whenever we need him."

Tanner Gentry, who lost part of his right leg at 8-years-old, said Montgomery changed his outlook on life.

"He actually became a mentor for me for like three years while I was playing on the prep team. As soon as I moved up divisions he became my coach, and I've known him ever since," Gentry said.

He added, "He's taught me pretty much anything about respecting individuals, respecting elders, respecting just.. your life and pretty much the world in general. It came from coach."

Montgomery hopes spectators can also take something away from these experiences.

"How hard it is for people with disabilities to accomplish goals. We set them, and we accomplish them. [I'm] hoping that they can see that these men and women put their lives up for us and also making them aware of wheelchair athletes in general," Montgomery explained.

The video by Dove is going to play at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Warrior Games.

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1 Comment

  • C

    If you need a role model for young people, he’s a good one. He’s accomplished more from a wheelchair than a lot of people with two good legs will in their lifetime. Congratulations.