UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State Ability Athletics program received a $13,000 grant from the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and Veteran Affairs (VA) on Thursday evening. The Penn State program, which assists Paralympic athletes who compete on a daily basis, also hosts a variety of events, games and tournaments on the University Park campus for Wounded Warriors and disabled athletes. The USOC and VA are in the third year of running the Olympic Opportunity Fund.
Penn State is one of 97 organizations to receive support from the grant-funding initiative, which is intended to promote Paralympic sport and physical activity programs for disabled veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces. In all, $2 million was awarded to USOC partner organizations. In four years, the Olympic Opportunity Fund has provided more than $4 million to 223 USOC partner and community programs.
"This funding is helping to meet the need for Paralympic and adaptive sport programming for disabled veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces in communities across the country," said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun through a press release on Thursday. "At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, there were 20 veterans and service members on the U.S. team who accounted for a total of 13 U.S. medals. We hope to build on that success at the elite level as well as continue to grow the number of veterans participating in Paralympic and adaptive sport at the grassroots level moving forward."
"Veterans Affairs is pleased to be partnering again with the USOC to provide funding for these programs," said Chris Nowak, national director, VA Office of National Veterans Sports Programs and Special Events. "This support is crucial to the thousands of veteran athletes who are participating in sport programs and improving their lives along the way."
Penn State Ability Athletics is one of two Pennsylvania organizations to receive funds along with the Two Top Mountain Adaptive Sports Foundation in Mercersburg. The Nittany Lion program is headed up by Teri Jordan and has many exciting events on tap this year.
The first project is set for Oct. 28 at the Penn State Multi-Sport Complex for a track & field event at 1 p.m. Another project on Feb. 2-4 will involve Navy Safe Harbour athletes. Penn State swimming & diving hosts Towson at McCoy Natatorium on Friday, Feb. 2 as the Navy Safe Harbour athletes participate at a PSU event for the second straight year. Other events planned for that weekend will include a seated volleyball match and an indoor track & field event on Saturday, Feb. 3.