Written By Matt Ream
Josh Pauls was born on December 31, 1992 in South Plainfield, New Jersey; however, Josh was different than most babies upon entering the world. Josh was born without his tibia (lower leg bone) in both of his legs, resulting in Josh having to undergo a surgery to amputate both of his lower legs just 10 months after he was born. From an early age, Josh didn’t let adversity set him back as he learned to walk and play just like other kids his age. On the other hand, participating in sports in gym class was often difficult as prosthetic legs didn’t give Josh the same running capabilities as his peers. However when Josh was eight, he was introduced to the sport of sled hockey and after several years he began playing sled hockey at the age of 10. Yet Josh was not aware what sled hockey would someday mean to him or the places that it would take him over the next 15 years.
Soon after his introduction to the sport, Josh fell in love with sled hockey as it gave him the opportunity to learn what it was like to be a part of a team and share a common goal with other people. Josh loved sled hockey as he continued to improve over the years, although he faced a minor setback during the summer of 2009 when he was cut from the United States 2010 Paralympic Winter Games team. With hard work and perseverance, Josh continued to overcome the adversity that he faced as he was able to earn his spot back on the team prior to the start of the 2010 Paralympics. Soon after Josh began his career as a Paralympian at the age of 17 in Vancouver, he helped the United States win gold as the youngest member on the team, beating Japan 2-0. In addition, a year before Josh’s first appearance in the Paralympic Games, Josh began his time on the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team and has maintained his spot on the team ever since, winning gold at the world championships in 2009, 2012, and 2015.
Josh continued his career as a Paralympic athlete at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, bringing home his second Paralympic gold medal after the United States beat Russia 1-0. Most recently, Josh Pauls helped the United States win gold two years in a row in 2015 and 2016 as he scored the winning goal in overtime in the championship games both years. As a forward and defenseman, Josh is currently working towards competing in the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Josh was introduced to Phi Delta Theta in the fall of 2015 by the Missouri Iota Colony President, Samuel Horstmeier, after he was messaged on Facebook about the opportunity that Josh had to become a Founding Father at Lindenwood University. After going through fall rush as a senior, Josh Pauls signed his bid with Phi Delta Theta and officially became a member of the Fraternity on November 1, 2015, after he helped found the Missouri Iota Chapter at Lindenwood University in Saint Charles, Missouri.
During Josh’s time as an undergraduate member of Phi Delta Theta, he served Missouri Iota as Risk Management Chairman and was voted Missouri Iota’s first Phi of the Year. Josh has thoroughly enjoyed his time in Phi Delta Theta as he loves that the Fraternity values giving back to the community and doing what ought to be done for the benefit of others. As a leader on and off the ice, Josh loved the bonds that he has been able to make with his brothers and the everlasting friendships that he continues to hold close to him since becoming one of Missouri Iota’s first Founding Fathers to graduate from Lindenwood University.
Josh continues to be active with Phi Delta Theta and his chapter brothers as he has always called the Fraternity his “team away from team.” Going forward, Josh encourages college students to go through fraternity rush as it is an opportunity that “you can’t pass up.” If adversity is to ever come your way in life, Josh reminds his fellow Phis that everyone has their own personal battles, but if we maintain a positive attitude and trust the support of our brothers we too can be champions.