Dempsey Hails Paralympic Experience for Wounded Warriors
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
LONDON, Aug. 31, 2012 The impact of the partnership between the U.S. Olympic Committee's Paralympic movement and programs designed to assist wounded warriors as they return to active lives has been priceless, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs said here Aug. 30.
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addresses the U.S. Paralympics Committee and several of its sponsors in London, Aug. 30, 2012. Dempsey honored the legacy of the games and expressed his gratitude to the supporters of wounded warriors and disabled veterans. DOD photo by D. Myles Cullen
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey spoke briefly with the U.S. Olympic Committee's Matthew Uhrich at Great Britain’s historic Hospital Club about the connection between the two efforts to help disabled and injured service members and veterans.
“There's about 225 delegates, and about 20 of them, so 10 percent, roughly, are wounded warriors [or] veterans and we're awful proud of that,” Dempsey said.
The chairman shared his thoughts on the military-paralympic connection before speaking at the U.S. Olympic Committee's legacy event honoring the Paralympic Games.
“It's one of the ways that we help these young men and women that have been wounded and have had their lives changed, but haven't given up,” Dempsey said. “And in fact, I think what they realized is that they can reinvent themselves ... in powerful ways that I think we could all learn a lesson from.”
Dempsey also talked about his pride in being selected to lead the U.S. delegation to the 2012 Paralympics which arrived on Aug. 28.
“I was honored to be selected for the head of delegation for the U.S. Olympic Committee's Paralympics and … spent the entire evening at the Open Ceremonies -- a fantastic event,” he said.
“And I spent some time visiting some of the venues and met some of our athletes, and just found it to be an incredibly inspiring experience,” Dempsey said.
The chairman said the Paralympic legacy celebration he was set to attend was a celebration of the Paralympians' commitment to betterment.
“We celebrate, not just the accomplishments, but as importantly, the commitment these athletes who don't define their lives in terms of their disabilities, but rather, in terms of their abilities. It's just phenomenal,” Dempsey said.
“We think that the partnership between the U.S. Olympic Committee's Paralympic movement and the military wounded warriors program is a match made in heaven,” he said. “Let's keep it up.”