Employees of the Louisville & Indiana Railroad (LIRC) backed up their company’s commitment to American veterans by offering more than 100 combined hours of volunteer services during the annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games, held July 11-16 at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville.
The Games are a partnership of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Paralyzed Veterans of America and are designed to serve veterans with spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, amputations, and other central neurological impairments. The Games’ goal is to enhance veterans’ independence, health, and overall quality of life.
A total of 10 LIRC volunteers contributed a combined 130 hours over the course of the four-day event. They performed such services as keeping score and overseeing timing for the Games, which include 19 different events such as basketball, cycling, power lifting, softball, and swimming.
A subsidiary of Chicago-based Anacostia Rail Holdings (ARH), LIRC operates 106 miles of rail line between Louisville and Indianapolis, connecting with CSX, Norfolk Southern, Indiana Rail Road, and Paducah & Louisville railroads.
“One of LIRC’s missions is to support the military past and present,” says Louisville & Indiana President John Goldman. “The opportunity to help with the wheelchair games in Louisville was another opportunity. While we were there we were able to hand out the veteran-themed LIRC challenge coin to several participants. I’m very proud to be part of an organization that volunteers for such a noble cause.”
The railroad has a tradition of working with veterans. Over the years, LIRC employees have worked with the Kentucky and Indiana Paralyzed Veterans Association by volunteering to build a handicap-accessible deck at the group’s headquarters, and assist in a veteran’s home repairs.
LIRC is also a two-time winner of the Timmons Award, named for Lt. Gen. Richard F. Timmons (USA-Retired) and given to railroads with a commitment to hiring and retaining veterans. The award is a project of the American Short Line & Regional Railroads Association.
For LIRC Vice President and U.S. Army veteran, Jeremy Kramer, the Wheelchair Games are an opportunity to work with high-level athletes. “It was a humbling and wonderful experience to be able to see the competitive and athletic skills of this group that has given us so much,” says Kramer, who spearheaded the effort for LIRC. “We look forward to our next project and hope that, when given the opportunity, others will support this great cause.”
In addition to Goldman and Kramer, Games volunteers from LIRC included trainmaster Will Faulkner; locomotive engineers Mike Gary and Alex Moss; office manager Karen Walker; assistant chief dispatcher Dan Watson; customer service manager Leah Windell and her daughter Sydney; and Doug Wolfe of contractor F&M Car & Locomotive.