Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Volunteers are needed for National Veterans Wheelchair Games


How do you prepare for the world's largest annual wheelchair competition?

"Our team started working two years ago," said Jeanene LeSure, local host coordinator at James A. Haley VA Medical Center.

But now, time is short.

The National Veterans Wheelchair Games, here in Tampa for the first time, will be July 13-18. The event will bring more than 500 veterans to compete in events such as quad rugby, javelin, swimming, basketball, handcycling and table tennis.

"In the competitions, veterans push themselves beyond what they do in the therapeutic environment," said LeSure, who is also a recreational therapist at Haley. "It shows them what they can do, and they no longer focus on what they can't."

To pull it off, many volunteers are still needed. Recruiters are halfway to the goal of 3,000 volunteers.

This week, Danielle Hester, a voluntary service specialist at Haley, set up a table at a job fair at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. She handed out about 100 applications and told those passing by how they could help.

They could greet veterans at the airport and hotels and help with luggage, she told them. Volunteers will drive veterans to games and help others get on and off buses. They will help announce games, keep score and time events. They will sell food and hand out water.

The competing veterans use wheelchairs because of spinal cord injuries, neurological conditions, amputations and other mobility impairments.

The games started as a way for veterans to focus on their abilities and work on rehabilitation through competition.

It's the second time the event has been in Florida since it began in 1981. In 1985 the Paralyzed Veterans of America joined the Department of Veterans Affairs as co-sponsors for the games.

Veterans will compete in 18 competitive events and two exhibition events. Local hosts picked the exhibition events for this year — tennis and adaptive water skiing, the latter a nod to Tampa's proximity to water.

Events will be held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, Raymond James Stadium, Lake Seminole Park, Hillsborough Community College, Silver Dollar Shooters Club, Pin Chasers, Jefferson High School, the Clearwater Long Center, the Riverwalk and the Tampa Convention Center, where competitions, ceremonies and the expo will be held.

City officials anticipate more than 2,000 visitors to Tampa for the event.

Volunteers must be at least 14 and sign up for a four-hour shift between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. The games are free and the public is welcome to celebrate the veterans serving as what organizers call "fans in the stands."

Elisabeth Parker can be reached at or (813) 226-3431.

To volunteer

Find an application at and return it via email to or call (813) 972-2000 ext. 6580.

Volunteers are needed for National Veterans Wheelchair Games 06/13/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 6:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Gov. Rick Scott could soon be the all-time king of line-item veto


    2016: $256,144,027

    2015: $461,387,164

    2014: $68,850,121

    2013: $367,950,394

    2012: $142,752,177

    2011: $615,347,550

    Only once has Scott used the line-item veto sparingly. That was in 2014, the year he ran for re-election, when he removed a paltry $69 million from the budget.

    Gov. Rick Scott waves a veto pen at The Villages in 2011.
  2. Rays morning after: An up-and down day for Jose De Leon


    Rays RHP Jose De Leon had a busy Monday - getting called up to join the Rays for the first time and making his way from Pawtucket, R.I., to Boston and the flying to Texas, working 2 2/3 eventful innings to get the W in the 10-8 victory over the Rangers, and then getting optioned back to Triple-A.

  3. White House communications director Dubke steps down


    WASHINGTON — Mike Dubke, White House communications director, has resigned in what could be the start of a series of changes to President Donald Trump's senior staff.

    President Donald Trump speaks at the Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Monday, May 29, 2017, during a Memorial Day ceremony. [Associated Press]
  4. Trump pays somber tribute to fallen troops on Memorial Day


    ARLINGTON, Va. — President Donald Trump expressed the nation's "boundless" gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice paid by Americans defending the United States, dedicating his first Memorial Day address as commander in chief to a top Cabinet secretary and two other families who lost loved ones.

    Brittany Jacobs, left, watches as her 6-year-old son Christian Jacobs meets President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, Monday, May 29, 2017, in Arlington, Va. Jacobs father, Marine Sgt. Christopher Jacobs, was killed in 2011. [Associated Press]
  5. Florida education news: Budgets, discipline, charter schools and more


    BUDGETING: Florida school district officials keep a close eye on their spending plans as they await word on the Legislature's budget. Gov. Rick Scott