(Pictured L-R: Highmark TechSystems volunteers Jacob Christman, Kevin Smith, Leonard Brown, David Overmyer, Chris Reason, Ryan Lehrman and Jared Numbers; photos credit Jennifer-Lehrman)
by Pat Friedlander
Perhaps you have never heard of the Paralympic Games. According to Wikipedia, “The Paralympic Games or Paralympics are a periodic series of international multi-sport events involving athletes with a range of disabilities, including impaired muscle power (e.g. paraplegia and quadriplegia, muscular dystrophy, post-polio syndrome, spina bifida), impaired passive range of movement, limb deficiency (e.g. amputation or dysmelia), leg length difference, short stature, hypertonia, ataxia, athetosis, vision impairment and intellectual impairment. There are Winter and Summer Paralympic Games, which since the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea, are held almost immediately following the respective Olympic Games. All Paralympic Games are governed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). The Paralympics has grown from a small gathering of British World War II veterans in 1948 to become one of the largest international sporting events by the early 21st century, [growing] from 400 athletes with a disability from 23 countries in 1960 to thousands of competitors from over 100 countries in the London 2012.”
Like all Olympic athletes, Paralympians have rigorous tryouts. This year, in order for athletes to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, they entered competitions held in Fort Wayne, Indiana. One of the three competition sites was Turnstone, a designated Paralympic Sports Club and one of 14 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic training sites in the U.S. Turnstone regularly hosts tournaments, with attendance at these events of more than 51,000 in the past year. Activities include cycling, goalball, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby.
Turnstone depended heavily on volunteers for the qualifying competitions, which ran from June 28 through July 10. Preparing for the qualifications ushered in one of the largest international events ever hosted in Fort Wayne with 600 participating athletes, coaches and staff. Lending a hand in any and every way possible was the 30-member team from Highmark TechSystems, based in Fort Wayne.
There was no shortage of work to be done, as the Highmark crew learned. From setting up the stage to putting finishing touches on the décor, Highmark proved itself to be a good corporate citizen for this major Fort Wayne event.
“One of our brand attributes,” says Highmark President Debbie Parrott, “is that our products are made in the U.S.A. Well, not just the U.S.A, but specifically in Fort Wayne, Indiana. From the very launch of Highmark, our company has followed the long-time civic leadership of my family in supporting local initiatives that highlight the spirit that characterizes Fort Wayne and its vibrant business community. We are honored to have been part of this amazing event and to support the Paralympic Team that will be going to Tokyo next year.”
For more than 20 years, HighmarkTech has been America’s trusted supplier of advanced modular exhibit systems and structural solutions, available for purchase or rent, meeting all industry-standard codes. Highmark’s proprietary products are known for design versatility, weight and installation efficiencies, and ease-of-use. For more info, visit www.HighmarkTech.com.
This story originally appeared in the September/October issue of Exhibit City News, pp. 26-27. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecnflipbook_septoct_2019_web