Fort Lee Soldiers assist with Wheelchair Games
July 12, 2012
RICHMOND, Va. (July 12, 2012)- Every year, competitive athletes from around the world join together in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games for a week of games including archery, swimming, weight-lifting, basketball, quad rugby and more. It is the world's largest such event.
The 32nd annual competition was held June 25-30 in Richmond. The event was hosted by McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center and presented by the Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
This year, Fort Lee's 108th Quartermaster Company, 530th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 49th QM Group, under the guidance of Pfc. Brandi Shupe, volunteered more than 300 hours at the Wheelchair Games.
"It was humbling that my commander and first sergeant gave me the opportunity to help spearhead this event for the Company," said Shupe. "It was an honor to volunteer and have our Soldiers volunteer as it is our duty to give back to the veterans who did so much for us."
More than 30 108th QM Co. Soldiers joined hands to assist veterans competing in the air gun competition. From coaching out on the firing line to making minor air gun repairs, the Soldiers said they enjoyed their experience and learned a lot during the event.
"It's a great opportunity to have our Soldiers interact with the veterans, as everyone of them gained perspective and insight as to why we all serve our country," said Lt. Col. Austin W. Elliott, 530th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion commander.
"Soldiers were amazed by the veterans' abilities, potential and their drive to succeed. We try to empower our privates and have them realize their own abilities and their potential," said 1st Sgt. Jason Johnson, 108th QM Co. first sergeant. "The efforts of our Soldiers show they are moving closer to becoming the leaders needed for our future Army."
On June 27, the 12th annual Kids Day took place as part of the 32nd National Veterans Wheelchair Games.
Kids Day is a time children with physical disabilities have an opportunity to interact with the veteran athletes. The 108th QM Co. shared a Humvee with the disabled children, in which the children were given the opportunity to safely climb into the tactical vehicle.
"It was a wonderful to see the children get excited about the Humvee," said 2nd Lt. Katty Velez. "Throughout the day at the children's games, the veterans coached and mentored them, giving the children the confidence to succeed."
Recalling a quote from Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who said, "old Soldiers never die; they just fade away," Elliott said the 108th volunteers show that veterans are not forgotten.