Vets' wheelchair games to begin
Philadelphia will play host to the 34th National Veterans' Wheelchair Games in mid-August, with several of the competitions overflowing into Moorestown, Maple Shade, and Berlin.
Presented by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Paralyzed Veterans of America, the games will begin Aug. 12 at the Convention Center in Philadelphia. They are expected to draw more than 650 veterans coping with paralysis or amputation.
Moorestown High School will host the daylong track and field events on Aug. 13, starting at 8 a.m. The high school, 350 Bridgeboro Rd., will also host tennis that day starting at 1 p.m.
It will host tennis and archery on Aug. 16, starting at 8 a.m. and lasting most of the day.
Laurel Lanes at 2825 Route 73 in Maple Shade will host bowling most of the day on Aug. 14, starting at 8 a.m.
On Aug. 16, Pine Valley Gun Club will host trap shooting starting at 9 a.m. The club is at 166 New Freedom Rd. in Berlin.
The Convention Center will be the venue for most games, and site of the closing ceremonies Aug. 17.
"The Department of Veterans Affairs supports these games because of the rehabilitative effect they have on wounded veterans," said Fern Billet, media coordinator for the five-day event.
"It's not just for the glory of winning, but the physical and emotional effect and well-being that comes from competition," said Billet. Participants "are using what they've learned [in rehabilitation therapy] and carrying over the good feelings and successes into their lives. This is why we do this."
Admission to all events is free and the games are open to the public.
"This is not a pity party," said Billet. "Many of these men and women use these games to qualify for the Paralympics. This is really sporting competition at all age levels and levels of ability." - David O'Reilly