Rec & Parks Donates to Local Non-Profit for Disabled Athletes

An Ocean Pines resident, who is a former National Wheelchair Basketball Association player, scores big when his newly launched non-profit organization has been gifted a donation by the Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks Department.

The department recently donated $750, which were proceeds from the annual Freedom 5K Race – a public event that costs $25 for pre-registration and $35 for on-site registration, to the Ocean Pines-based organization Achilles International – Maryland, which provides support and competitive training to local athletes with disabilities on Delmarva.

“Achilles International – Maryland could not be more honored and proud to have the support of Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks,” said Jeremy Goetzinger, chapter president. “Not only is the recreation department our first major supporter, but we feel that Recreation and Parks goes hand-in-hand with what we do – providing opportunities for individuals to participate in mainstream and local sports and recreational programs.”

The donation was presented at the annual Freedom 5K Race in Ocean Pines on July 4, where a competitive team of three disabled runners made history. Goetzinger, Tom Gorman and Mark Flounlacker, all of Ocean Pines, were the first disabled athletes to compete in the annual 5K race.

“It was apparent to us when moving here that there were no opportunities or programs here on the Eastern Shore for disabled individuals to participate in sports and recreation,” said Goetzinger. “That’s when we started Achilles International – Maryland.”

Since the start of Achilles International – Maryland, the organization has attracted about ten local athletes. Many of those disabled athletes have never competed or trained.

“We cannot stress the importance of having more local disabled athletes participating in local races,” said Goetzinger. “Not only does it help them promote personal achievements, enhance self-esteem, and lower barriers to living a full life but it will encourage and inspire our local community to strive for greatness, kindness and provide important opportunities for all.”

For more information about Achilles International – Maryland, contact Jeremy Goetzinger at achillesmaryland@gmail.com.

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