Windstream Among Sponsors of US Veterans Wheelchair Games

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by Mary Chapman |

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For the second year, the communications and software company Windstream is supporting the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, touted as the world’s largest annual wheelchair sports event exclusively for military veterans.

The event is for all U.S. veterans with a spinal cord injury, amputation, multiple sclerosis (MS), or other neurological disorder that requires a wheelchair for athletic participation. This year’s competition is being held July 7-12 in Tempe, Arizona.

Windstream sponsored this year’s archery segment of the competition, and company representatives are expected to participate in the medal ceremony.

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“Windstream is proud to once again help support the world’s largest annual wheelchair sports event solely for military veterans,” Mark Reed, Windstream’s chief procurement officer, said in a press release. “The athletes competing in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games are an inspiration to us all. We have the greatest respect for their courage and their service.”

Reed is executive sponsor of the company’s WINVETS Employee Resource Group, which assists veterans in their return to civilian life, including with careers at Windstream.

The National Veterans Wheelchair Games, which is presented by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), offers 22 events that include bowling, air pistol, air rifle, basketball, boccia, disc golf, softball, table tennis, team powerlifting, badminton, and field events. Curling and pickleball are new for this year, and the more than 500 athletes registered are required to participate in at least two events.

“Every year, hundreds of American heroes from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the post-9/11-era compete in this celebration of courage and camaraderie,” the event states on a webpage.

The competition was established by the Department of Veterans Affairs in 1981 with seven events and 77 athletes. Four years later, the Paralyzed Veterans of America joined the department to help enhance the event’s mission and reach.

It has grown as VA therapists increasingly turn to adaptive sports to help veterans become more active in daily life and their community, and to help them gain the confidence, skills, and experience necessary to meet life challenges. Some wheelchair game athletes have also moved to higher levels of national and international competition.

The PVA opened its membership, and the benefits it offers, to U.S. veterans with MS in May, citing advances in early MS detection.

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