Event supports athletic team for wounded veterans
The Trine wrestling team will host Military Appreciation Night at the Feb. 7 dual meet against Manchester.
The team will raise funds to support the Achilles International Freedom Team of Wounded U.S. Veterans. The Freedom Team was founded in 2004 and provides wounded veterans an opportunity to compete in events such as marathons and cycling. Program participants receive training as well as the use of specialized adaptive devices, such as hand-crank wheelchairs. All injured military personnel and veterans are eligible for the program, whether the injury is combat or non-combat related.
In addition to the Freedom Team, Achilles International sponsors chapter workouts in various cities and towns throughout the world. The organization also sponsors activities for children with disabilities, a para-triathlon team and a kayak program.
The following individuals and organizations will serve as sponsors for weight classes at the dual:
- Trine University Wrestling
- Manchester University Wrestling
- Brooks and Gretchen Miller, in honor of their grandparents Wayne Farnsel, Roger T. May, Howard Messenger and George Robke.
- Dan and Cindy Callahan
- Parkview Sports Medicine
- Professor Sean Carroll, Ph.D.
- Phi Kappa Theta fraternity
- Seth Ware, assistant coach, Trine track and field and cross country
- Matt Vader, in memory of Capt. Gerald D. Earhart
Funds from each sponsorship will be donated directly to Achilles to support the Freedom Team. The money will be used to help provide training opportunities, fund entry fees for competitions, purchase equipment for veterans and cover travel costs for individuals and their families.
Last year, Trine raised $1,107 for Achilles in the team’s inaugural Military Appreciation Night.
Tom Davis of Fremont, former member of the Freedom Team, will be in attendance to speak with the Thunder wrestling team before the meet and will address the crowd during intermission. Davis competed in the 2016 Rio Paralympic games, where he finished fifth in the handcycling time trial and sixth in the 60-kilometer road race. He finished only five seconds behind earning a medal and 11 seconds from a gold medal in the road race.
Davis joined the U.S. Army in 2002 and reached the rank of Staff Sergeant. On June 3, 2006, he rode shotgun in a Humvee as it drove through Ramadi, then the most dangerous city in Iraq. While turning, the truck ran over an improvised explosive device, throwing the truck two stories in the air as it flipped backward and landed on its roof. After surgery, Davis decided to have his left leg removed.
Davis competes in marathon-distance handcycling races. He began cycling in 2012 and competed in the 2014 World Championships.
Trine's ROTC Honor Guard will present the colors prior to the meet.
Prior to the dual, Trine's Student Athletic Advisory Committee will serve free pizza for students in attendance. The organization will also have a gift card drawing following the conclusion of the meet.
Trine's wrestling team will honor seniors Tyler Prater (Homer, Mich. / Homer) and Joe Stasiak (Mishawaka, Ind. / Penn) prior to the final home duals of their Thunder wrestling careers. Both wrestlers are four-year members of the program.
The dual between Trine and Manchester is scheduled to get underway at 7 p.m. in Hershey Hall.