Nick Bonino and the rest of the Nashville Predators saluted local wounded veteran Stephen Schroeder as part of the team's Ford Military Salute Week, inviting him and his family to Tuesday's morning skate. The Preds partnered with Soldier's Wish, a nonprofit that supports active duty military, veterans, and their families, to gift Schroeder a new all-terrain wheelchair.
Before being injured in a helicopter crash during training exercises near Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Schroeder served as an Army Chief Warrant Officer in Iraq and Afghanistan.
After Tuesday's morning skate, Bonino led Schroeder and his family back to the Preds locker room. Waiting for him there was the rest of the team and the new wheelchair.
"As a team, we wanted to thank you for everything you do," Bonino said. "We understand the sacrifice and what you guys go through, which is amazing."
The team helped Schroeder into the wheelchair and talked with him one on one.
Schroeder expressed his gratitude toward the team as well.
"A couple years ago you guys were in the playoffs and that's when I had to get my surgeries," Schroeder said. "I was just two miles down the road at Vanderbilt watching you guys, and it was one of the bright spots. Thank you for what you guys did."
Schroeder and his family were also invited back to Bridgestone Arena that night to watch the Preds 5-4 shootout victory over the Minnesota Wild.
"Just to be able to interact with the team and get a chance to talk to them a little one on one was just awesome," Schroeder said. "We're so thankful and excited. It's nice to have an opportunity like this."