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Statement of Davis Celestine
Vice President
Paralyzed Veterans of America, Florida Gulf Coast Chapter, Tampa, FL

My name is Davis Celestine and I was injured in a 2001 in a training accident going over to Afghanistan for our yearly detachment. After my accident, I woke up on a hospital bed with several doctors around me. At first I thought it was a dream until I came to the reality that I was not in a dream.

One of the doctors turned and said to me, “you might never walk again, but miracles happen every day.” So with that said to me, I decided to do whatever it takes to stay active in my daily life. However, I was shipped off to the James A. Haley Hospital for Rehab and that was when I was introduced to Cathy Williams and Jennifer Day. From there they got me started with simple stuff such as playing the game "TROUBLE" and card games. They paired me up with a paraplegic named "Max" and he told me if your fingers are not working as well, use your mouth to make a pair of moccasins for your wife, so with that type of motivation in their clinic it was an inspiration to be in there. Now, their program has grown so well, they have pushed me into the Paralympic World to compete in handcycling and swimming.

Also having good family support really helps. My wife, Deborah, and my twins keep me going and to be the best that I can be. In my spare time, I volunteer at the local chapter, where I'm the Vice-President and Fundraising Chairman. I give back to my local hospital by trying to get the newly injured involved in the great sports program.


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