|Category:||Caring for Communities|
|Tags:||employees, military, National Wheelchair Games, Paralyzed Veterans of America, sports, UPSers, veterans, volunteerism|
For years, I’ve worked behind the scenes on behalf of The UPS Foundation to coordinate the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) National Wheelchair Games. Coordination for this event has always been a delight. However, nothing truly compares to attending the Games with UPS volunteers, athletes, caregivers, family and friends of athletes, coaches and healthcare team members. The excitement and energy from a host of supporters, the spirit of courage and determination from over 600 athletes and confidence that emanates from coaches are all too much to contain in one city!
PVA was founded in 1946 to assist with a wide variety of issues involving the special needs of armed forces veterans who have experienced spinal cord injury or dysfunction. Since 1988 UPS has provided more than $800,000 in funding as well as our logistical expertise to support the annual Wheelchair Games and PVA programs that benefit veterans with spinal cord injuries.
The National Veterans Wheelchair Games is a multi-event sports and rehabilitation program for military service veterans who use wheelchairs for sports competition due to spinal cord injuries, amputation or certain neurological programs. Each year, over 600 novice and experienced athletes along with their caregivers, family, friends and corporate sponsors convene for a week of competition in more than 15 events. Many participants are inspired by their participation in the Games and go on to compete at higher levels. Others find a new confidence and self-esteem that eventually leads to employment and success in other facets of their lives.
UPS employees stepped up and showed how much they cared for our nation’s injured veterans, with 122 UPS employees, family and friends investing more than 1,400 volunteer hours this year to stage the games.
Undoubtedly, the games inspired participating athletes to face and overcome fear with courage, demonstrate unbelievable strength versus succumbing to weaknesses and to persevere when faced with great obstacles. The athletes were there to win! In watching their pursuit of victory, I matured in knowledge of our support for injured veterans. Additionally, after spending one week at the Games I recognized that I had been in the presence of authentic courage, strength and determination. No words can ever express how grateful I am to work for a company that deeply cares about our communities.