Military Order of the Purple Heart Supports 29th Annual Veterans Wheelchair Games

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The Military Order of the Purple Heart is proud to support the 29th Annual Veterans Wheelchair Games being held July 13-18 in Spokane, Washington. The Spokane VA Medical Center and the Northwest Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America are hosting the 2009 Games.  

The MOPH Department of Washington and Spokane Chapter 470 have made a considerable monetary donation to this year’s event and members of the Department are volunteering  their time and support to help ensure the games’ success. 

According to Washington Department Commander Gary Yeager, “We are proud to be able to support this great event, especially because it is being held this year in our own backyard.”  Patriot Art Carter, Commander of Chapter 470 has encouraged all members in the State of Washington to join his chapter in providing volunteers for this year’s event. 

     

The Games are an annual multi-event sports rehabilitation program open to U.S. military Veterans who use wheelchairs for sports competition due to spinal cord injuries, amputations or certain neurological problems and who receive care at VA medical facilities or military treatment centers.  

Sports are important in the therapy used to treat many disabilities.  For many injured Veterans, the Wheelchair Games provide their first exposure to wheelchair athletics.  

This year, more than 500 of America’s greatest wheelchair athletes, all U.S. military veterans, are expected to compete in 17 different sports, including air guns, archery, basketball, bowling, field, handcycling, nine-ball, a motorized wheelchair relay, power soccer, quad rugby, softball, swimming, table tennis, track, trapshooting, weightlifting and wheelchair slalom. 

For the third year, stand-up events will also be held in archery and table tennis for athletes who have amputations and choose to compete using prosthetic devices instead of their wheelchairs.   Veterans competing in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games come from nearly every state, as well as Puerto Rico and Great Britain.

Opening ceremonies will be held at Veterans Arena in Spokane, while closing ceremonies are at the Spokane Convention Center, where many of the week’s competitive events willge take place.  Jim Sims, National Senior Vice Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and himself a Washington resident, will be present for the opening ceremonies. 

Also attending will be Bruce McKenty, MOPH Region III Commander and another Washington resident.  Kids Day at the Games takes place July 17 at Spokane Falls Community College, where local children with disabilities will meet the athletes and learn about wheelchair sports.  Admission is free to the public, and the community is encouraged to attend. 

The Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) is unique among Veteran Service Organizations in that all its members were wounded in combat. For this sacrifice, they were awarded the Purple Heart Medal. With grants from the MOPH Service Foundation, the MOPH and its Ladies Auxiliary promote Patriotism, Fraternalism, and the Preservation of America’s Military History.

Most importantly, they provide comfort and assistance to all Veterans and their families, especially those requiring claims assistance with the VA, those who are homeless, and those requiring employment assistance.  MOPH volunteers provide assistance to Hospitalized veterans at VA sites and State Veterans Homes.

For more information about the National Veterans Wheelchair Games or to volunteer during the week, visit the Games Web site at www.wheelchairgames.va.gov.

For information about the MOPH, contact:

National Public Relations Director, John Bircher, 352-753-5535

Email: [email protected]

Web: www.purpleheart.org

 

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