Local ath­lete gets mil­i­tary send-off

Dave Innes com­pet­ing next month at the In­vic­tus Games in Aus­tralia

North Bay Nugget - - NEWS - GORD YOUNG

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.

Gord younG/The NuggeT

In­vic­tus Games ath­lete Dave Innes was sur­rounded by sup­port­ers Fri­day dur­ing a send-off at CFB North Bay.

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