Original hometown: Lexington, NC
Current hometown: Lexington, NC
Employer: Crawford HP Composites, Resolute Adaptive
Any military/veteran connection or are you riding in honor of a military member/veteran?
RP: I was actively pursuing joining the Marines just weeks prior to my accident I, however, missed my opportunity to serve in the USMC when I chose to drink and drive and broke my neck at the C 7 level in that accident.
How long have you been physically challenged?
RP: 34 years
Mode of ambulation? (wheelchair, cane/crutches, prosthetic)
Paralympic or other medals for cycling, etc.?
Programs / Development / Participation
- Served on the Board and helped found the South Eastern Wheelchair Sports Association and Games (Held every April – Myrtle Beach, SC)
- Speaker for the National “Think First Program”
- Co-Founder and Past President of the Triad Trackers Wheelchair Basketball Team
- Past Member of the US Disabled Weightlifting Team – US Weightlifting Official
- Current – USQRA Carolina Crash Rugby, ASAP Hand Cycling and USA Adaptive Water Ski Team Member
- VP “Back In The Woods Again” Adaptive Hunting Program
- Coach – ASAP Water Ski Team – Level 1 Instructor and boat driver for the ASAP Physically Challenged kids and adults ski program (Lake Norman YMCA)
- WSDA US Athlete Advisor
- Gold in International Weightlifting competitions – Silver in US in 1993
- 3rd overall in National Body Building Championships 1994-95-96
- 2008 National “Royce Andes Most Promising New Skier Award” Recipient
- USHF National Criterion Champion 2011
- Silver (2) and Bronze Medalist in National Water Ski Championships 2008, 2011, 2012
- 2 “Beach to Battleship” Half Ironman Triathlons
- 3rd overall – 2013 Melbourne Beaches Music Marathon 26 mile Hand Cycle Race
- 11 Consecutive 180 mile “ASAP Cycle to the Sea” Fundraising hand cycle rides to Myrtle Beach SC.
- US Disabled (World Champion!) Water Ski Team Member in 2011-2013 -2015 Team
- 22 years Coaching/training/developing individuals and teams
Personal reason and message:
RP: I spent a long time reflecting on the years since I was injured in 1982 and one memory keeps coming to mind; my doctor telling me; “I will be nothing but a burden to society and only have 10 years max to live”. Hard words to hear and comprehend at 16 years old. For too long I believed those words and pushed everyone out waiting for that day to come. 10 years came and went, I didn’t die, now what? I had to learn how to live again and along the way I have tried my best to show others that life is not over after injury or accident as long as you keep trying. I have suffered through a lot of pain, failures and setbacks over the years but have been able to overcome by learning from the mistakes and trying again. I can only hope that instead of being a burden – my bull headed way of doing things has helped someone else understand that you can accomplish anything you want if you try. For our new cross country challenge, we will leave San Diego California and ride in pairs of 2 (Hand Cyclist and Able Bodied Cyclist) over 9 days back to the East Coast joining the Cycle to the Sea group riding to Myrtle Beach and then ending our journey at Camp Lejeune, NC.
Our goal is to raise awareness of the huge benefits Adaptive Sports can offer to our veterans suffering life altering injuries while serving our country. We want our veterans to know that the comradery they knew in service can be re-established through a multitude of sporting opportunities.
We will be raising funds to benefit the Semper Fi Fund, The Independence Fund and ASAP (Adaptive Sports and Adventures Program) based in Charlotte. All of the proceeds go towards providing support avenues for helping individuals overcome injury related pain, setbacks and provide equipment, training to promote healthy active lifestyles through the advancement of Adaptive Sports.
My dad was a Marine and he taught me to serve others by giving back. To say thank you to the Vietnam Veterans who took time to teach me how to be active in a wheelchair after injury and all the other people that have helped me over the last 34 years.