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HPU fraternity, organization donates new Trackchair to veteran who lost leg

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HIGH POINT, N.C. — Mike Verardo was truly surprised.

“I was shocked and excited all in one. It’s really great,” Verardo said.

On the six-year anniversary of Verardo’s injury, The Independence Fund, a national veteran’s organization, and High Point University’s Kappa Alpha Order gifted Verardo with a Trackchair. He lost his left leg while serving in Afghanistan.

“I was shocked,” Verardo said.

Five years ago, the non-profit organization donated one of these chairs to Verardo. But that chair is now worn out.

The Independence Fund Executive Director, Tommy Rieman, says the high-tech, mobility chairs they donate are essential to helping in the day-to-day functions of wounded veterans.

“If you were in a wheelchair for a day, you’d lose your mind just because of the obstacles that are there. These chairs go beyond those obstacles—it’s incredible,” Rieman said.

Verardo regularly attends events held by the non-profit. He’s been involved with the organization since 2009. When he was invited to attend an event to support The Independence Fund at High Point University, he thought it would be like most others.

But instead, he was the reason for the event. The fraternity donated $26,000 to the non-profit. The students raised that money over the course of a four-month campaign. That money goes to pay for Verardo’s new chair and to contribute to future Trackchairs.