HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Two sporting events were played in the first week of October to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
First, the annual Wheelin’ Wildcats versus Team Hill Leadership wheelchair basketball game took place Oct. 4, 2017, at the Warrior Fitness Center. Second, a ‘Goalball’ game was held Oct. 7, 2017, at the base youth center.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month is one of ten special observances recognized by the Department of Defense. The month of October is dedicated to raising awareness of employment needs for disabled workers and celebrating their contributions.
These sporting events were hosted by the National Disability Employment Awareness Committee and sponsored by the Team Hill Special Observance Council, which oversees all special observances each year.
Wheelin’ Wildcats versus Team Hill Leadership
The wheelchair basketball game was very close this year, with Team Hill Leadership winning 44-38. The team was led by Col. Lee Kloos, 388th Fighter Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Donald Stroud, 388th FW command chief master sergeant. In addition, six first sergeants representing four wings at Hill AFB completed the team.
The Wheelin’ Wildcats put on an excellent performance, maneuvering their chairs with speed and agility that excited spectators. Team Hill Leadership made many substitutions during the game, necessary to keep up with the Wildcats’ energy on the court.
Each year, after the game, the wing with the most team spirit is awarded a game ball signed by all players, coaches, and volunteers. This year, the 388th FW took home the spirit award.
This year was the first time “youth” Goalball was hosted during NDEAM at Hill AFB. Kids and parents came out to see what it was all about. Everyone gathered for a short history lesson where they learned how Germany originally started Goalball to rehabilitate visually impaired soldiers after World War II. It has since evolved into a Paralympic sport designed exclusively for blind athletes.
After talking about the sport, rules were explained and the games began. The kids and parents alternated games, one after another for almost three hours. When it was time to clean up, everyone wanted to continue playing. THSOC is working to make Goalball an annual event.
No matter your age, ethnicity, gender, race, and/or sexual orientation, almost everyone will encounter some sort of disability in their lifetime. The purpose of these events is to raise awareness and bring everyone together. Please join us next year!
To learn more about the National Disability Employment Awareness Committee or other special observances celebrated and observed on Hill AFB, please email THSOC Exec at UDG_75ABW.EO_DiversityExecs@us.af.mil. Meetings are held every third Wednesday of the month at 2 p.m. in building 460, next to the base chapel.