The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

April 26, 2014

Funding to provide enhanced sport programming for disabled vets, armed forces

HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP — U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), announced that Spire Institute has been selected to receive grant funding in support of Paralympic sport and physical activity programs for disabled veterans and disabled members of the armed forces. More than $7.5 million in funds from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been awarded to 70 community organizations and National Governing Bodies around the country.

Through this program, grants ranging from $13,000 to $500,000 were provided to USOC partner organizations and community programs to increase the number and quality of opportunities for physically or visually impaired veterans to participate in physical activity within their home communities and in more advanced Paralympic sport programs at the regional and national levels.

“Spire is excited and honored to be awarded with the Paralympic Grant which will allow us to run a Gold Medal Camp for Valor Games Gold Medalists from across the country,” stated Jeff Orloff, Spire’s chief operating officer.  “This is an amazing opportunity for the Valor Games Gold Medalists to showcase their talents and receive coaching from the top coaches in the field.  This also allows Spire to highlight its facilities and programming to the best and brightest athletes in the Paralympic Field, as well once again providing our region with the opportunity to see some of the best Paralympic Athletes in the world.”

“This funding has allowed thousands of veterans and service members with physical disabilities to participate in Paralympic sport at the community level,” said Charlie Huebner, chief of Paralympics, USOC. “Through the leadership at Veterans Affairs and within Congress, these funds have a tremendous impact on the availability of programs across the country, not to mention thousands of lives.”

Spire will hold a three-day camp for Valor Game Gold Medalists from across the country. They will be working with top coaches in the sports of cycling, swimming, track and field and seated volleyball.

Research has shown that regular participation in physical activity has a positive effect on the rehabilitation process, self-esteem, education, employment and overall health.

For more information about Spire Institute and its programs, contact Meri Fetkovich at 440-466-1002 ext. 144 or mfetkovich@

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