From July 13-18, Tampa Bay will host the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, the world’s largest annual multi-sport wheelchair event. More than 600 Veterans from the United States and Great Britain are expected to compete. They come from every branch of military service, and they have served from World War II to Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
The Florida Team, which includes athletes from across the Tampa Bay area, is expected to be among the strongest.
Competitive events will take place at the Tampa Convention Center, the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina, Pin Chasers Bowling Lanes, Clearwater Long Center, Raymond James Stadium, Jefferson High School, Hillsborough Community College (Dale Mabry campus) and Lake Seminole Park.
Admission to the Games is free and the public is encouraged to attend. Free shuttle transportation will be provided to the Tampa Convention Center from the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital, 13000 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa. Park in the “Freedom Lot” near Walmart and look for the “NVWG” signage. Shuttles will run from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily from July 13-18.
Community members are also encouraged to volunteer during the Games. To register, complete a Volunteer Application available at www.wheelchairgames.va.gov and return it via e-mail to Wheelchair.firstname.lastname@example.org. The applications can also be dropped off at the Voluntary Service Office, Room 2A-215L, James A. Haley Veterans Hospital, 13000 Bruce B. Downs, Blvd., in Tampa. For more information about volunteering, contact Camilla Thompson, Tampa Volunteer Coordinator at Wheelchair.email@example.com or call (813) 972-2000, ext. 6580. For a detailed event schedule, visit www.wheelchairgames.va.gov
And don’t forget about the 13th annual Kids Day event, which will take place Monday, July 15, as part of the Games. Kids Day offers children with physical disabilities from the Tampa Bay area an opportunity to interact with world-class wheelchair athletes competing in this year’s Games. This event takes place at the Tampa Convention Center, East Hall, 333 Franklin Street, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Monday, July 15. It is free and open to the public. Tampa area children with physical disabilities ages 4 to 14 years old are invited to participate; however, advance registration is required. Parents can register their child by contacting Brittany Pesak at Brittany.Pesak@va.gov or (706) 589-1229, or Jason Labonte at Jason.Labonte@va.gov or (727) 365-2505.