Meet the guy behind the grin

If you live in the Appleton area, you’ve probably seen Aaron Velie biking through the city.

The 22-year old athlete put 2,000 miles on his bike last summer alone, tracing loops past city parks.

He probably smiled at you as he pedaled past, and you, despite your busy schedule and lack of formal introduction, most likely smiled back. A grin as big as Aaron’s tends to leave a trail of happier people in its wake.

That he’s biking at all is a testament to both his own will and his parent’s attitude. Doctors and therapists warned Aaron’s parents, Amy and David, that Aaron would never walk or talk due to a cognitive disability and cerebral palsy.

But no one told that to Aaron.

He plays golf, tennis and basketball, runs track, bowls, and has become a decorated Special Olympian.

His athleticism left a lasting impression on us when we saw him play basketball with our son Vinnie on the eighth grade team at Roosevelt Middle School. Aaron hit a three pointer and we all applauded wildly. Then he hit a second three pointer a few seconds later. With time winding down, he tossed in a third three pointer for the most exciting finish to a middle school basketball game I’ve ever seen.

These days Aaron works a steady job at A to Z Machine Co. He earned a license to drive both snowmobiles and ATVs and he enjoys taking care of his family’s yard, mowing in the summer and snow blowing in the winter.

If you see Aaron, biking through the city, swinging in the park, or working in the yard, you might want to give him a wave.

You’ll recognize him by that contagious grin.

This particular grin comes courtesy of race car champion Greg Stingle, who let Aaron take a seat in his light buggy during a perfect weekend of racing at the Big House Brawl in Crandon.
Aaron and his dad at the Packer game
Aaron’s a big Packer fan as well. Here he is at Lambeau with his Uncle Bob Eggert.
Aaron Velie
He paused for a minute or two so I could take his picture as he rode past my house Tuesday night. Bike riding is his favorite thing to do.

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