- P&G recently co-presented the 37th National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Cincinnati, in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Paralyzed Veterans of America.
The Wheelchair Games are a rehabilitation and sports program empowering Veterans with spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, amputations and other neurological injuries to live more active and healthy lives through wheelchair sports and recreation.
Each summer, Veterans from across the United States, including a team from Great Britain, travel to a new community hosting the NVWG. This year, more than 550 Veterans competed in 19 wheelchair sports events, while mentoring and inspiring newly-disabled Veterans on what’s possible.
“The 37th NVWG was both a fantastic experience and tremendously successful,” said P&Ger Don VanFossen, an Army Veteran who leads P&G’s partnership for the 37th NVWG. “The experiences with the veterans, their competitiveness and the overall atmosphere surrounding the games was truly inspirational.”
Beyond the participants’ impressive display of athleticism, the games particularly resonate with P&G employees as an inclusive, coming together of all people. Julie DeSylva, a Military Veteran and P&Ger, brought her sons to volunteer:
“As a mom and a Veteran, it is important to me that my boys understand the sacrifices made by our military and the sacrifices they continue to make every day. It makes me proud to work for a company that recognizes the dedication of these amazing men and women and that sponsors such events as the National Veterans Wheelchair Games.”
Several hundred more P&G employees joined the games to volunteer and watch. P&Ger Shannon O’Connell, who volunteered with the air rifles and pistols events, expressed her appreciation that P&G sponsors such an impactful and vibrant event that brings together people of all backgrounds and abilities:
“The Wheelchair Games are a huge event that these athletes train for and travel from around the country every year. Participating as an able-bodied volunteer definitely made me re-think the things I complain about on a day-to-day basis. These athletes gave up some of their ability to serve our country, and choose to make the best of it.”
The Wheelchair Games offer opportunities for athletes of all levels, from novice to professional, and the opening ceremonies and various heats throughout the week include all participants.