High 5 4 Kids: local family shares experience with Operation Teammate

High 5 4 Kids: local family shares experience with Operation Teammate
Olivia meets UGA gymnast

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Last week we told you all about Operation Teammate. They're a local non-profit whose mission to give kids in military and first responder families some great opportunities. These includes spending time with collegiate and professional athletes that inspire them.

The Maxwell's are one of the participating families.

11-year-old Olivia Maxwell is proud to be in a military family.

"It makes me feel proud of him," said Olivia.

Her father, Captain Charles Maxwell, finished his last deployment in 2007. Olivia was born while he was away, which meant he watched her first year of life from a computer screen.

"It's heartbreaking you know, knowing that you're missing all that stuff. As children grow up there's milestones that they reach and you like to remember. And some of those milestones I wasn't there for," explained Captain Charles Maxwell with the U.S. Army

Now, Captain Maxwell is finishing up his residency in Emergency Medicine at Augusta University. Long work hours means he cherishes time with his kids even more. Olivia recently competed in the 2018 Elevate the Stage gymnastics competition at the James Brown Arena. But through Operation Teammate she also spent the day with hanging out with college gymnasts.

"My favorite part was probably getting to sit with them, and I got to talk to them. And meeting one of the gymnast and getting pictures with her," said Olivia.

Hearing the older gymnasts tell her she can do what they're doing one day inspires Olivia. Not to mention she got to share the day with her dad.

Olivia explained, "It made me happy because we kind of got to bond. And he would say how cool it was and ask me all these questions about it."

This is exactly what Operation Teammate is all about- giving kids in military and first-responder families some incredible opportunities.

"It's really cool. I mean, kids are going to get to go to the Masters. They go to professional games. They go to all kinds of events that other people don't get to do."

The goal is to inspire these kids to stay on track and follow their dreams. Captain Maxwell says families are the backbone of service members and they deserve recognition.

"I hear the word sacrifice thrown around a lot. But you know, families sacrifice. They do, and we need to remember that and appreciate them," said Captain Maxwell.

He says families are often the ones forgotten about, which makes him appreciate what Operation Teammate does even more.

Next up for Operation Teammate kids will spend some time at the Masters and with UGA's football team.

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