After competing in the Sochi Paralympic games, a local skier is now sharing his story of success.
"It was really just an honor for me to be able to talk to all these great students," said Tyler Carter, of his role as keynote speaker during the Berks County Community Foundation's scholarship luncheon at Stokesay Castle on Monday afternoon.
"If I can inspire someone... if it's just someone at home to get up off the couch and do something, or if it's just someone to keep following their dreams, it's great for me," said Carter.
The speech was delivered just months after Carter, 20, of Topton, represented the United States Paralympic team in Sochi, Russia. He told the crowd that it was a dream of his that once seemed unattainable.
"I honestly thought two years ago that I wouldn't be where I was today. I didn't think I would make the team," said Carter.
But overcoming the odds is typical for the athlete, who lost his right leg by age one, the result of being born without fibula.
"That kind of set my life in motion. I always look at it as a blessing," said Carter. "I always say I probably wouldn't have gotten into skiing if I didn't lose my leg."
"He was asked if he would change anything in his life and he said, 'No,'" added Ed Carter, his father.
It's a story of optimism that motivated hundreds during the BCCF event.
"It inspired me to try my best more," said Deevena Nikerle, a scholarship recipient.
"It's such an inspiring tale and he's such a dedicated and impressive young man, but young enough that the students here could really relate to him," said Kevin Murphy, president, BCCF.
Murphy said that Carter, too, received a grant in 2012 from the foundation.
"It helped me pay for my expenses and helped get me where I am today," said Carter.
Now, the skier is spreading his message of hope and success across the region, speaking during several local ceremonies this week alone.
On Thursday, Carter will make an appearance during the seniors award ceremony at Brandywine Heights High School, his alma mater.
"If I can go anywhere and speak to anyone I will, as long as I'm available. I'm up for it," said Carter. "It's just a great way for me to give back to the community."
But in between his speaking engagements, Carter will be focused on one goal: bringing home the gold during the 2018 winter games.
"That's what I have my eye set on," said Carter. "I'm already training."