Jordan Thomas continues growing foundation through golf - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Jordan Thomas continues growing foundation through golf

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Jordan Thomas (right) with Noah, one of the recipients of prostheses provided by the Jordan Thomas Foundation. (Courtesy: Jordan Thomas Foundation) Jordan Thomas (right) with Noah, one of the recipients of prostheses provided by the Jordan Thomas Foundation. (Courtesy: Jordan Thomas Foundation)

Lindsay Murray
Channel 3 Eyewitness Sports

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- It takes a tremendous amount of courage to overcome the obstacles Jordan Thomas has faced in his young life.

At age 16, he lost both of his legs in a boating accident, but even that didn't hinder his spirit.

"I was determined to get back to where I was and I knew it was going to require a lot of hard work," Thomas said. "If you're willing to put the effort in, anything is possible."

A recent graduate of Rollins College, Thomas has battled back from his injuries and is at the top of his golf game. He says the sport is the one thing that fueled his motivation after the accident.

"It give me relief," he said. "It wasn't a doctor's office, or a prosthetics office. It was a sense of normalcy out here that I got to regain, and I just loved it."

While still recovering in the hospital after his accident in 2005, Thomas was inspired to create a foundation to benefit other children affected by limb loss.

The Jordan Thomas Foundation has since raised nearly a million dollars to benefit kids in need of prosthetics

"After I lost my legs in 2005, I recognized there was a lot of kids that needed prostheses that didn't have access to them. I recognized I was put in this situation to help them," Thomas said.

Suddenly golf was no longer just an escape from Thomas' troubles, but an avenue to fund the help he was trying to provide.

The Jordan Thomas Foundation annual golf tournament has grown into one of the largest annual golf fundraisers in the area, held each fall at the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club. The event also includes a low country boil at Stratten Hall downtown.

This year, Thomas helped create the inaugural Amputee Long Drive Championships in Loudon, which are taking place this week at Tennessee National Golf Club.

Thomas competed against fellow amputees and Wounded Warriors from all over North America in Thursday's main event, which was won by Nashville's Jared Brentz with a drive of 367 yards. The gathering continued Friday with a select shot tournament.

All proceeds go to benefit the Jordan Thomas Foundation.

"I recognize there's going to be a lot of talent folks there that may be missing a limb or two, but they're still as active and competitive."

And while you won't hear Jordan complain about his situation, he says it hasn't always been easy.

"There's day when I think, why did this happen or I'm really struggling, and a lot of people don't see that," Thomas said. "They don't see the behind the doors stuff. They see the recognition I've gotten and things like that, but they don't see the challenges I face on a day to day basis."

But on those days, Thomas finds plenty to keep him going.

Countless pictures and videos remind him of the young lives he's changed with his foundation, and motivate him to keep growing it to continue his vision of helping as many amputee kids as possible.

"It way exceeded my expectations. I never dreamed it would ever get to the point where it is now, so it's a real blessing," Thomas said. "It's such an honor because of how many people have been a part of it. It's no longer a mom and pop deal. It's required a lot of help from a lot of people, and it just means so much to me to be able to do it." 

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