Van Products family member, Johnny Holland, recently competed in the 31st National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Pittsburgh, PA. The Goldsboro native and Army Veteran did North Carolina proud as he placed 1st in his class and division in two events; Nine Ball and Weightlifting.
He placed 2nd in Bowling and also participated in Softball. Johnny bowled a 162, and his winning bench press was 265 pounds. These are exceptional performances especially considering the wide range of skills needed to participate in four very different events. No wonder he goes by the moniker “Quadzilla!”
Heading Back to Richmond, VA
Johnny won’t have to travel quite as far next year. The 32nd National Veterans Wheelchair Games will come back to Richmond, VA., the site of the inaugural Games in 1981. The 2012 Games are set for June 25th through the 30th.
Charlie Hayden is the sports director for the Virginia Mid-Atlantic Chapter Paralyzed Veterans of America. He’s very familiar with the Games because he participated in the original Richmond Games in 1981. “We’re very excited to bring the Games back to Richmond—where it all began nearly 32 years ago,” said Charlie. “The Games have grown tremendously since then, and we look forward to seeing that growth continue as we host the 2012 National Veterans Wheelchair Games.”
Athletes can compete at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games each year and are presented by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA). They are open to all U.S. military veterans in wheelchairs for sports competition as a result of spinal cord injury, certain neurological conditions, amputations or other mobility impairments.
Events in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games
There are 17 events contested in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games:
- Table tennis
- Air guns
- Nine ball
- Quad rugby
- Wheelchair slalom
- Power soccer
- Motorized wheelchair rally
- Track and field
The athletes are grouped with others who have similar abilities, experience and age. You can learn more about the 32nd National Veterans Wheelchair Games at www.pva.org/Games or www.wheelchairgames.va.gov.
Johnny “Quadzilla” on Television
On a final note, Johnny was one of the athletes featured in the promotion done by a local TV station in Pittsburgh. During the advertisement, “Quadzilla” caught the eye of a young viewer and he immediately wanted to meet Johnny. He headed out to the Games and was fortunate enough to find Johnny amongst all the other competitors. Johnny shared his time generously and as you can see in the picture, gave his new friend a good look at his medals. While visiting at Van Products recently, he grinned and said, “Yeah, I definitely have a new buddy!”
Where might Quadzilla show up next?
On September 17th, Johnny will throw out the first pitch at the inaugural Miracle League of Franklin County baseball game at Louisburg High School. Game time is 7pm and Van Products will be there, too!