Wounded warriors compete in Valor Games
Posted May 22, 2013
Durham, N.C. — Wounded warriors showed strength of body and character this week in the first Triangle edition of the Valor Games. The three-day Paralympic competition pits injured or ill active-duty military personnel and disabled veterans in feats of strength and skill.
"It keeps me going. To tell you the truth, I think it's keeping me alive," said Walter Evans.
The Vietnam War veteran served in both the Army and the Marines but is wheelchair-bound, paralyzed from the waist down in a fall from a roof in 1999.
Evans said he was eager to compete in the Valor Games.
"My daughter wants me to just sit home with nothing to do. I can't do that," he said. "I'm very active."
Organizer Ashley Thomas, founder of nonprofit Bridge II Sports, said the Valor Games are about physical prowess and so much more.
"When you end up physically being affected in a very dramatic way, you lose your courage, you lose your confidence, you lose your self-esteem," she said.
Andy McCaffrey lost part of his arm to a malfunctioning grenade, but he said others inspired him to compete.
"When you see a guy with three body parts missing, and he's out here doing his best, it makes you want to step up your game a little bit," McCaffrey said. "Life's not over for any of us yet."
On Tuesday, competitors started the day with lunch and an opening ceremony. Events include archery, rowing, table tennis, volleyball and cycling. Competitions are held on the campuses of the University of North Carolina and Duke University. The Valor Games conclude Thursday at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds.
"I know I'm coming back next year," Evans said.