Charles Marino, of Troy, participated in the recent National Veterans Wheel Chair Games held last month in Tampa, Fla. This
was his first year in the competition after he was encouraged by Charlie Wright, his therapist at Jefferson Barracks Hospital. During a stopover in Kansas City, Marino joined other veterans who were enroute to the competition. There were a total of 617 participants including 165 novices (first-time participants).
While at Tampa, Marino competed in bowling, weightlifting, shot put, discus, archery, 9-ball and javelin. Marino placed second in the novice bowling and second in the novice weightlifting. “I didn’t do as well in the other events,” he said.
While competing was fun, just being around the other veterans was uplifting, Marino said. “They were willing to talk about their past experiences in life.”
Marino, who served in the United States Air Force as an aviation radio specialist, became disabled in a serious car accident in Boone County in 2004. He sustained over 100 fractures, shattered ankle, ribs, punctured lung as well as fractured back. After an extended stay in the hospital, Marino was referred to a rehabilitation center in the St. Louis area. He was bed-ridden for four months, not able to walk.
Marino is anxious to compete again in the Games and hopes to be better prepared. He is training at Ultimate Fitness and looking to improve his bowling skills at area lanes.