Local athlete gets military send-off
Dave Innes competing next month at the Invictus Games in Australia
Dave Innes says he never looked at the accident that landed him in a wheelchair as a “negative thing.
“I always looked at it as a second chance and ran with it,” says the North Bay athlete, who will compete in the Invictus Games in Australia next month.
The 47-year-old veteran, who was given a send-off Friday by local military at CFB North Bay, told the crowd that life doesn’t have to end after injury.
“I’ve never taken life for granted since my accident,” Innes said, thanking his family, coaches and supporters.
Innes was paralyzed from the bottom of his ribs down after breaking his back in several places in a truck accident during military training in 1990 at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick in preparation for deployment to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The cargo truck carrying almost 30 soldiers hit a patch of black ice on the highway and slipped off a 10-metre cliff.
Innes is one of 40 athletes who will compete for Canada at the Games, which run Oct. 20-27.
The international event is aimed at harnessing the power of sport to inspire the recovery and rehabilitation of physically and mentally injured military personnel and veterans. More than 500 competitors from 18 nations are expected to compete in 11 adaptive sports.
Innes will compete in power-lifting, indoor rowing and wheelchair basketball.
He described the send-off Friday, where he was presented a flag signed by supporters, as both “overwhelming and humbling.”
Innes applied to participate in the event after serving as a flagbearer for an Invictus Games ceremony last year at CFB North Bay. He was selected from more than 700 people.
Innes says he’s looking forward to supporting his team during the Games.
He says he’s forged lifelong friendships with his fellow athletes, noting it’s amazing what many have triumphed over.
Follow Innes on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/174760909843161/?ref=br_rs.
Invictus Games athlete Dave Innes was surrounded by supporters Friday during a send-off at CFB North Bay.