As the 2013 National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Tampa came to a close, planning is under way for the 34th Games to be held Aug. 12–17, 2014, in Philadelphia.
Photo by Chris Ennis.
With Local Organizing Committee (LOC) leadership from the Philadelphia VA Medical Center present to observe the 33rd Games, an understanding is being established of what needs to happen for 2014. Bethany Purdue, who has been a recreational therapist at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, is chairing the 2014 LOC.
“When we first arrived in Tampa, it was sufficiently overwhelming,” Purdue said. “But we’ve learned a lot this week. Most of the people on our team had not been to the Games before so it has been a great opportunity to meet athletes and see how their lives are changed by this event. That makes it clear why we’re doing what we’re doing. This event illustrates what these veterans are capable of and we want to showcase what they can do in Philadelphia.”
Purdue said that the whole event is somewhat unreal in its scope, but she and her team are starting to feel more confident having now been on hand to observe and ask questions in Tampa. She adds that it’s been a great bonding experience for the Philadelphia contingent. “We came in as individuals but we’re leaving as a team,” she said.
The full Philadelphia LOC has not been established yet but Purdue said that the leadership and vice chairs have been selected. A total of 14 people are attending the 33rd Games as part of the Philadelphia LOC.
Among discussions are the exhibition sports. One exhibition sport that has been set is rowing, which is a popular pastime in Philadelphia. The 34th Games have adopted the slogan “Where Heroes Make History.”
Purdue said that she is thrilled for the Games to arrive in such a great sports city and a city filled with amazing history. “We’ve just been meeting with the city and our sports congress and (convention and visitor’s bureau) and those types of organizations for six to eight weeks. I can tell you that everyone is excited about these Games. Bring it! We’ll be ready.”
Learn more about the National Veterans Wheelchair Games
Tim W. Jackson is a freelance writer and editor in Ashville, N.C.