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Making Memories

Reprinted from PN June 2009

"Rollin' on the River" takes on a whole new meaning next month in Spokane, site of the 29th National Veterans Wheelchair Games.

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The Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) invite you to the largest annual wheelchair-sports event in the world, July 13-18. From quad rugby to archery, and power soccer to track and field, the National Veterans Wheelchair Games provides an exciting combination of competition and camaraderie.

People have been "gathering at the river"—the Spokane River, that is—for thousands of years. It's the lifeblood of the region and brings energy and beauty to the Spokane area. Featuring spectacular downtown falls and beautiful walking trails, the river has long been the focus of the city's development.


Jackie Budin, shown here with grandparents Rita and David Budin, will cheer from the sidelines.
"Come and make a memory with us," says Carla Lippert, Local Organizing Committee chair. "In between sports events and visiting with friends, you can experience a variety of marvelous local sites."

With 76 lakes and multiple rivers within 50 miles, fishing, water skiing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, and more are just minutes away. The city has 33 golf courses, terrific theme parks, museums, crazy casinos, pristine parks, performing arts, an eclectic culinary scene, award-winning wineries, sparkling new malls and boutiques, and comfortable accommodations.

From the Heart

Competition in the Games is not just about winning medals. It's about taking part in life. This is something Games sponsors know is very true.

David Budin, a long-time friend and supporter of PVA and the Games, passed away suddenly last fall. He left footprints on the hearts and minds of those who knew him. His unwavering support of America's veterans came from knowing what their sacrifices mean to all of us.

On Veterans Day last year, Budin's young granddaughter, Jackie Budin, sat quietly in school with tears streaming down her face as she remembered her grandfather. Her class at Cushman Elementary School was discussing the significance of the day and what it meant to be a veteran. They talked about the sacrifices veterans have made for America's freedoms. The teacher noticed Jackie's tears and asked why she was crying. Jackie said, "I miss my grandfather, and he was a veteran."

The teacher told Jackie's parents about her reaction. Upon learning her grandfather had been an avid supporter of PVA for more than 20 years, the school asked Jackie if she would like to gather donations from her classmates. Jackie, of course, said yes!

Jackie clearly would have made her grandfather proud. And the legacy David Budin leaves behind lives in the heart of a little girl and now, her classmates and school staff as well.

PVA learned of Jackie and the Cushman Elementary School's support when PVA Development Officer Mike Delaney received a phone call from them. Their donation of nearly $500 will go to the PVA OEF-OIF Rehabilitation Fund, created by PVA in 2004 to help newly-injured Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans attend physical rehabilitation and sporting recreation events like the National Veterans Wheelchair Games.

"Dave Budin was passionate about his support of our veterans, and as a veteran felt he had the honor of supporting PVA, as a National sponsor of the Games," says Delaney, a past PVA national president, whose relationship with David and his family began in 1989.

The Legacy

With this year's Games upon us, David's son, Steven Budin, had a decision to make. He knew without further thought the Budin Family legacy would continue. Following in David's footsteps, The Budin Family is proud to be a National Sponsor of the 29th National Veterans Wheelchair Games. Without the generosity of The Budin Family and all the other sponsors, the Games would not be an annual success.

Jackie Budin, along with her family, will be on the sidelines this year, cheering for the veteran athletes of these Games. Even if you're not an athlete, join Jackie and her family; come on out and spectate! Admission is free and open to the public.

For details, visit www.wheelchairgames.va.gov.


Read more about the sponsors who provide financial and volunteer resources to the National Veterans Wheelchair Games.

 

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