It is the day that Will Ackerman with the V-A Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System has been waiting for. Ackerman is at Eppley Airfield welcoming over 500 veterans who are taking place in the 28th annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Omaha. Ackerman says they are receiving a real hero’s welcome.
“We’ve got military members for Offutt Air Force Base as well as volunteers who are greeting the athletes as they come up the ramp from the ramp from the airplane. They are holding American flags and just welcoming them to Omaha.”
Ackerman says the stages have been set at the Qwest Center, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Thunderbowl Lanes, the Henry Doorly Zoo and a number of other places that the veterans will compete in seventeen events.
“To honor our veterans who are participating and to showcase Omaha and that the community is behind the athletes and the veterans and look for exciting things for the next five days.”
The games officially start Friday with a wheelchair basketball demonstration. Following that, the official welcoming ceremony gets underway Friday night.
“A parade of the 500-plus athletes. We have a local athlete that will be lighting the torch. We have a number of celebrities, state officials and personalities that will speak at the opening ceremonies to really kick this thing off with a bang.”
Veterans from all over the U-S, Puerto Rico and Great Britain are attending the games. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.