Manor man wins medals at veterans' Wheelchair Games
MANOR — John Kellner, a Navy veteran, trained all year for the 2013 National Veterans Wheelchair Games (NVWG) in Florida.
All that practice paid off.
Kellner earned a total of four silver medals in the senior division — in bowling, archery, a 100-meter race and a 200-meter race.
He said he practiced for the races along a two-mile portion of the Armstrong Rails to Trails in Ford City to prepare for the games and lifted weights regularly at the Richard G. Snyder YMCA in Kittanning.
And although he didn't medal in the weightlifting event this year, he plans to try and win one next year and already has resumed training.
This was his third year to compete in the NVWG, which was held July 13-18 in Tampa Bay, Fla.
Kellner, who served from 1967 to 1971 during the Vietnam War, wants to get the word out to encourage more veterans to participate in next year's games, which are scheduled to be held Aug. 12-17 in Philadelphia.
“You don't have to be injured in action to compete,” he said.
Kellner said he broke his back 45 years ago and ended up in a wheelchair after his condition worsened.
“Once I started to compete, it gave me something to look forward to each year,” he said. “Everyone is classified according to their injuries. There are lots of events for every imaginable disability.”
The Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Department of Veterans Affairs have co-presented the games since 1985.
Kellner was one of 17 competitors who traveled with a group of veterans from the Paralyzed Veterans of America Keystone Chapter, according to Joe Dornbrock, executive director of the chapter.
The Athletes' participation in the games is a culmination of a year-round health and fitness regime, said Dornbrock.
“This is our most expensive program,” he said, adding that the Keystone Chapter pays for virtually all of the expenses for those who qualify for the games.
He said the nonprofit organization relies completely on contributions from the public and works to improve the quality of life for veterans by helping them access health care and benefits. The nonprofit monitors veterans' health care to ensure providers are meeting their obligations.
Dornbrock said the organization advocates for veterans and also for the rights of all disabled people.
Part of the organization's mission is to help expand sports and recreational opportunities for disabled veterans. That's why the NVWG is so important, he said.
Participants experience a lot of camaraderie with not only American veterans but also with British veterans who travel to the United States to participate at their own expense, said Dornbrock.
The national competition includes table tennis and billiard games, aquatic, track and field events, contact sports like Quad Rugby and wheelchair basketball, as well as events that highlight dexterity including navigation through obstacle courses.
Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kittanning razes condemned homes it bought at tax sale
- Students, ALS win when Shannock Valley principal takes Ice Bucket Challenge
- Festival benefits Light Up Night, fire department in Ford City
- Funding cuts leave Armstrong food banks operating on ‘wing and a prayer’
- Workers shaken by news Kittanning Foodland will close
- Bethel man kills himself in front of state police
- College courses offered to Armstrong high school students at bargain prices
- Kittanning Foodland announces it will close
- Armstrong tax records moving online
- Support group in Ford City offers help to depressed
- Erie woman charged second time in a week in Armstrong