MANGANO: UPSEE HARNESS TO HELP WHEELCHAIR ATHLETES WALK AND COMPETE IN GAMES FOR THE PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED

Nassau Saves the Games with Private Donations for 5th Consecutive Year

Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano was joined today by generous sponsors and student athletes from the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County as he announced that his administration has once again raised the private sector donations needed to host the Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged from May 28th through May 30th. With the support of private-sector donations, County Executive Mangano began saving the Games in 2011 after New York State eliminated funding for the Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged.

“This year brings new excitement as wheelchair athletes will now use Upsee Harnesses to walk and compete in the Games for the first-time while standing upright,” said County Executive Mangano. “The young student athletes who are able to participate in the weekend of events are truly inspirational to watch. As they cross the finish line, you see the smiles on their faces and tears of joy in their eyes. Thanks to the support of generous sponsors, these wonderful children have the ability to compete with their friends from across the State, share their stories and build friendships that will last a lifetime.”

With the general support of corporations such as Property Tax Reduction Consultants, this year’s Gold Medal sponsor, athletes will compete in track, field, slalom, archery, swimming, wheelchair basketball and table tennis. Participants, ranging from ages 5 to 21, face disabilities including blindness, visually impaired, deaf, hearing impaired, spinal cord injured, amputees and those who have cerebral palsy, dwarfism and other physical challenges.

Sean Acosta, President of Property Tax Reduction Consultants, stated, “As the uncle of two amazing children with Autism, I can only begin to tell you the joy that comes to the hearts and minds of children when they participate in an activity they truly love. For that reason, my wife Debbie and I are proud to sponsor the Games for the Physically Challenged with a $30,000 donation from our company, Property Tax Reduction Consultants. We wish all our young athletes the best of luck.”

In its 31st year, the Games will take place in part due to contributions from King Kullen—America’s First Supermarket— who has been a long-time sponsor helping to feed the athletes, while Hofstra University has committed to housing the athletes with only minimal costs for maintenance. Nassau Community College is the venue hosting swimming, wheelchair basketball and table tennis events as well as the closing ceremonies. The Nassau County Department of Health and Medical Reserve Corp volunteers will once again work to provide onsite medical care and response during the games. In addition, NICE Bus will provide shuttle bus service for participants and has also generously donated $5,000 toward the Opening Ceremonies.

“The Games for the Physically Challenged are a wonderful opportunity for our community to celebrate achievement and to bring together young people from across New York State to compete in a great competition,” said Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz. “Hofstra University has a long history as a host for these games and we are pleased to continue this great tradition in partnership with Nassau County.”

“Nassau Community College is once again proud and privileged to be a host venue for the Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged. And as members of the Long Island community, we are indeed fortunate observers and well-wishers because the participants’ courage strengthens us, their indomitable spirit uplifts us, and their commitment to put forth their best efforts energizes us all,” said Acting President Kenneth K. Saunders, Nassau Community College.

“We’ve seen firsthand the joy and determination that surrounds this wonderful competition and the athletes who participate are an inspiration to us all. We’re excited to be a part of it again this year, and to be able to help make a difference in the communities we serve,” said Brian Edwards, Executive Vice President for Astoria Bank.”

“The New York Islanders are proud to support the Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged. The Games offer youth the opportunity to participate in sports and recreational activities adapted to their unique abilities. These games bring not only hope but joy to all the athletes participating. We look forward to participating in this great sporting event,” said Ann Rina, Community Relations representative from the New York Islanders.

“It has been King Kullen’s honor and privilege to participate and be the food sponsor to ‘The Games’ all these years. We continue to be proud of such an admirable event for the athletes & their families,” said Jeff Prince, Director of Store Operations for King Kullen.

“The people at Transdev’s NICE bus operation love to get involved with the Games; drivers, technicians, and administrative staff all step out of our everyday roles and show what we can do in a wonderful environment. Carrying passengers is what we do and these passengers are some of our very favorite ones,” said Michael Setzer, CEO of NICE.

Martin Elias of the Elias Foundation and Elias Properties stated, “Ike, Molly & Steven Elias Foundation and Elias Properties are proud to sponsor the Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged. It is so gratifying to see how enthused and excited all the athletes are each year as participants in these games. The Games truly make a difference in their lives and we are very happy to support the 2015 Saving the Games.”

Denis Menke, Vice President of Home Medical Equipment added, “Home Medical Equipment is proud to be a sponsor the Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged again this year. The Games are a wonderful opportunity for physically challenged children to participate in recreation and competitive sporting events, adapted to meet their needs. Many of the athletes are known to us, having worked to provide them their adaptive equipment. It is an honor to see them, and all the athletes, participate in
this wonderful event.”

Jim Macri, Board Member of The Dee Foundation, stated, “The Dee Foundation, which was created to celebrate the remarkable and courageous life of Dee Macri, is very pleased to sponsor the track and field event at the 31st Anniversary Games for the Physically Challenged. Dee was a competitor at the inaugural games in 1985 and continued to compete, and volunteer for many of the following years. The Games had an enormous impact on Dee and helped her grow into a strong and capable woman. And for 31 years the Games have given the people who surround these athletes a way to celebrate their challenges and triumphs.
We are very pleased to make this award to support this fine competition.”

“I will be eternally grateful to County Executive Mangano for keeping these Games alive for the children who look forward to the experience each year. It is the one place where they are the norm and it is a wonderful event for all involved,” added Angela Melledy, Publisher Able Newspaper.

“We at LAR Enterprises are honored to be a part of supporting the Games for the Physically challenged. We will again host a benefit concert in support of the Games, on September 19th in Eisenhower Park. We want to thank County Executive Ed Mangano for getting LAR Enterprises involved with this worthwhile fundraiser and we looking forward to making this Concert a total success,” added Rob and Laura Albanese of LAR Enterprises.

“The Disability Opportunity Fund is a Nassau County based not-for-profit organization which supports people with disabilities. I commend County Executive Mangano’s commitment to the athletes who participate year after year,” Charlie Hammerman, President and CEO of The Disability Opportunity Fund said. “As a parent of a former athlete, nothing is more rewarding than watching these children compete. The Disability Opportunity Fund is proud to be a sponsor for the fifth consecutive year, providing the medals, ribbons and pins.”

“It is a great pleasure to be considered part of this event. For decades the Bussani Family has been impacted by the smiling faces of satisfied customers, many of whom have been Games’ participants. We couldn’t imagine a year going by without them and are very grateful to County Executive Mangano and the outstanding crew that makes the games a reality. The athletes are an incredible inspiration to many well beyond the disabled community. For that the Bussani family says best of luck and congratulations!,” stated John Bussani, President of Bussani Mobility Team.

Susan Gordon Ryan, Founder of the Games in 1985, concluded, “It is wonderful that the Games will be celebrating their 31st anniversary this year. They have a long and very positive history for the athletes, which could not have happened without the support of Nassau County and New York State and of course the commitment of the Committee Heads, Volunteers and Coaches for all these years.”

The cost of participation is free and the numbers of athletes increase each year, boasting over 1,000. The dedication brought forth by the parents, families, teachers, coaches and volunteers are critical to the success of the Games. Operating with a small staff, the Games are facilitated by those who return year after year to a program they love. For more information, please visit Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged website at http://www.nassaucountypcgames.com.

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About nassaucountynewsnetwork

The County Executive of Nassau County,NY
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