- Associated Press - Sunday, June 26, 2016

OLMSTEAD, Ky. (AP) - For the second year in a row, Steve Miller will join a team of paralyzed veterans from across Kentucky and Indiana traveling to Salt Lake City to compete in the 36th annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games at the end of June.

Miller, 59, of Olmstead, is a determined Army combat engineer veteran. After an accident left him paralyzed from the waist down in 2013, Miller’s doctor told him he’d never walk again. He decided that would not stop him from continuing to live his active lifestyle, so he became involved with the games and much more when he joined the Kentucky-Indiana chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America.

“You just get to see people with all types of disabilities giving 110 percent and that’s the thrill of it,” Miller said. “It’s not winning and losing, it’s giving everything you’ve got and if you’re in the games, believe me, you’re giving 110 percent.”

About 500 veterans come together for the annual National Wheelchair Games. There are multiple divisions ranked from beginners to experienced athletes. The events include archery, swimming, weightlifting, basketball and more. KIPVA Executive Director Vicki Lincks said it is one of the most inspiring events to see.

“It’s a transformation for a lot of the athletes that participate,” Lincks said.

Miller was introduced to Lincks and KIPVA through a representative, Hank Albertson, who visited him while he was doing rehabilitation in St. Louis. Last year at the games in Dallas, Miller brought home three gold medals in swimming and bowling events. He will add track and field and javelin throwing to his events this year. Miller said he wants to go out there and give his best effort because it’s not about winning medals, it’s about seeing people with disabilities giving everything they’ve got.

Lincks said Miller is highly involved and currently serves on the board of directors. He also participates in many bass fishing tournaments and hunting activities through the organization, the same activities he did before he was paralyzed. Miller’s active lifestyle before his injury gave him an advantage afterward.

“I think this was one of the reasons I was able to bounce back and stay in good shape,” Miller said. “I’ve really had a chance to live life. Even though I’m not walking, I’m rolling, baby.”

This year the National Wheelchair Games will be Sunday through July 3. Members of the Kentucky-Indiana chapter will attend what is deemed the largest annual wheelchair competition in the world. Their team is the Kentuckiana Super Spokes.

“They take so much pride in being the best and accomplishing everything they can and putting their spinal cord injury behind them, if only for a short while,” Kentucky Indiana Chapter President Kevin Sparks said in a news release. “There is simply nothing like the spirit of a U.S. Veteran.”


Information from: Daily News, https://www.bgdailynews.com

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