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Aug 27

My first day on the job – “Work Force Ops” at the Paralympic Family Hotel.

Today was my first day at work and I was trained by Luciana. She was the first to get a pirate dog pin and she loved it! My job was checking in employees and volunteers at the Paralympic family hotel to distribute meal tickets, water and to help keep the staff motivated.

When I heard “Paralympic Family Hotel”, I thought this was where the moms, dads and siblings of the athletes stay. I found out that the “Paralympic Family” means all of the world delegations of the organizing committees.  It is comprised of the International Paralympic Committee “IPC” and the National Paralympic Committees “NPC” and the International Federations “IF” for each sport.  This is the “business/organizing” side of the Paralympics, and they all stay in the same hotel.  They have a variety of privileges depending on their credentials.  The paid employees and volunteers in my area are taking care of this group of organizers.

The check-in area is in the lower floor of the hotel.  I work primarily with local employees and volunteers, and they all primarily speak Portuguese.  One of the managers, Nathan, thought I would be better suited to a different area where my English would be more of a benefit to the clients.  Nathan was working with another group to see if they could use my help.  Although I enjoyed working with everyone, and really working on my Portuguese, I didn’t get to meet people from all over the world.  I was hoping for the change so I could get a better sense of this amazing event.

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This is where I worked for the first 3 days. It’s the check-in area in the basement of the hotel.

 

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I was trained by Luciana. She was the first to get a pirate dog pin and she loved it!

 

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Meet Nathan. He is the manager that tried, and succeeded in transferring me to a department he thought would be more interesting for me. He is also helping to get Mark assigned to a roster.

 

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This is Vanessa, another manager. She also loved the Keating pin!

 

Here’s a quick lesson taken out of the Paralympic Family Guide.

The History of the Paralympic Movement and the Paralympic Games
The Paralympic Games are the most prestigious international sports competition for athletes with an impairment. They help
break down stereotypes and promote change in the way that society views people with an impairment.

The History of the Paralympic Games
The origins of the Paralympic Movement are associated with the name of the distinguished neurosurgeon Ludwig Guttmann,
who actively used sports as a means of treatment for patients with motor system injuries. In 1948 he organized the first sports
competitions for people with impairment at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, United Kingdom. Participants in the
competitions included veterans who had been injured during the Second World War. These Games began to be known as the Stoke Mandeville Games, named after the village in which they were held. They gained international status as early as 1952, when Dutch military personnel took part in the competitions. The IX Annual International Stoke Mandeville Games were held
in Rome in 1960, a few weeks after the XVII Olympic Games. They are considered to be the first Paralympic Games.

The Term “Paralympic“
The name Paralympic Games originally referred to the term “paraplegia“, as the first regular competitions were among people
with spinal cord injuries. When athletes with different impairments began participating in the Games, the term “Paralympic Games“ took on the meaning of “alongside the Olympics“, from the Greek preposition para (“beside“ or “alongside“). The new interpretation was meant to declare the competition among people with an impairment to be equal to the Olympic Games.

The International Paralympic Committee The first General Assembly of International Sports Organizations for People with Disabilities was a pivotal event in the development of the Paralympic Movement. On 21 September 1989, in Düsseldorf, it founded the International Paralympic Committee, an international non-profit organization that promotes the Paralympic Movement around the world. The IPC’s goal is “to enable Paralympic athletes to achieve sporting excellence and inspire and excite the world“.

Aug 27

My first morning walk on the beach before reporting to work at noon.

Today I made my first steps onto the beach that is across the street. As soon as I met the water, I found the biggest sand dollar I have ever seen. Then I walked up to a volleyball net with green balloons with players in green tank tops. Turns out it was beach volleyball lessons. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I have always wanted to sneak in on a high school volleyball camp to improve my game. I joined the volleyball drills on the beach to see what class I would be in. I could have stayed there all day. SO COOL! The classes are Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 9 am. I hope I can make it to some if not all. I’ll have to take my lunch hour on the beach!!!! So excited!! All this was before 10 am. I had to start my first day of volunteer work at noon.

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VoleiBom is a company that offers beach volleyball lessons!

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You can also buy fresh coconut water on the beach. They have the coconuts in a cooler and cut a hole in them for you and give you a straw.

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Back to my apartment for breakfast before my first day on the job! Fresh mango and avocado with my eggs.

 

Aug 26

Meet my new best friend in Rio – Claudia!

As I was searching for a place to stay on Airbnb.com, I almost rented a room from a woman (Claudia) who had two sons.  But just before I confirmed the room, I found the apartment on the beach and chose that instead. In the process, Claudia and I became Facebook friends, and she seemed to have a lot in common with me. When I arrived in Brazil, I sent her a message and asked if she wanted to get together.  She immediately responded with lots of options and since I was pretty tired on my first day here, we decided to get together Friday night.

I had a terrific evening with Claudia on my second day in Rio. She picked me up around 9 and we went out to a great Arabian restaurant. Several of her friends from work joined us – including Roger, a previous Olympic soccer player (who also kite surfs) and Domitila, who is a reporter on SporTV. There were also a few famous actors and comedians that Claudia knew. Not a bad day 2 in Rio! And guess what… Claudia roller blades too!

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Cheers to my new friend Claudia. She lives in Rio and not too far from my apartment.

 

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Nancy, Roger and Claudia. Roger was a famous soccer player in Rio, and has won medals in past Olympics. He is not a sports broadcaster for a channel called SporTV.

 

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Nancy, Domitila and Claudia. Domitila also works with Claudia at SporTV and is a well-known personality.

 

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A typical bar/restaurant on the trendy street in town. I can walk here during the day, but not at night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 26

The Official Paralympic Uniform!

The second day I traveled to downtown Rio to get my credentials and uniform. I took the scenic route by bus and connected with a new train called the VLT. Very few people spoke English. Thank goodness for my phone and Google Translate. The line was super long, but they pulled out the volunteers and moved us along. The uniforms are very nice. They include a lot; 2 pants, 3 shirts, tennis Shoes, 3 socks a jacket, hat, bag and water bottle.

 

Web-lineOne of the volunteers in line with me pointed out that my credentials didn’t look right, so after I got my uniform, I had to wait at the help desk to check.  Indeed, he was correct and I had to get my credentials reprinted.

Also in the line I met Curry.  He is also a volunteer from China and speaks English. He is in Rio about a month, but only has a 4 day assignment.  Turns out that his apartment is close to mine, so we exchanged numbers.  Everyone here uses an app called “Whatspp”  It’s like Facebook messenger and free to communicate.  Using Whatapp, I do not need to get a Brazilian telephone number.

Curry is 25 and is staying with friends at Barra beach also.  He has many friends in Brazil and is doing a lot of traveling/exploring.  For only 25, he has already traveled the world and is a great travel buddy.  You’ll see more of Curry.

 

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This is my new friend Curry from China. He is excited to just get his credentials. He is also staying in Barra da Tijuca.

 

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Trying on my new uniform at the credentialing and uniform center!

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Aug 25

Nancy settles in her Rio apartment and it’s amazing!

I settled in the first day, found the market got a few directions and ate dinner at a small kiosk restaurant across the street on the beach. The area seems to be pretty safe and everyone is very friendly and helpful. It’s winter here but still perfect beach weather day and night. I haven’t seen any mosquitoes yet

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Restaurant Kiosk across the street – on the beach!

 

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View from my restaurant table on day one!

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The logo for the Paralympics is not the Olympic Rings. They have their own logo, and there is an awesome display across the street from me!

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Here are some pictures of my apartment and the view across the street.

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This is the view from my balcony. Not a bad place to drink my coffee every morning! I still can’t believe how lucky I got on this apartment!

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Aug 25

We are volunteers for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!

In 2012 after the London Olympics, Mark and I decided to volunteer for the 2016 Paralympics.  After three years of applying, interviewing, and training, the time is finally here!
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I decided to accept the one month roster that I was assigned, so I arrived on August 25. Mark arrives two weeks later, and will volunteer during the games.

The 2016 Paralympics in Rio take place after the regular Olympics,  they run from Sept 7-18.

I took an overnight flight and arrived at 8 am.  After a two bus trips, I arrived at the apartment that I found on Airbnb.com.  I tried to find a place to stay close to my work assignment.  Turns out it is next door.  Score!

 

First Day in Rio!!

Bom Dia (Good morning) from Rio everyone! I arrived in Rio on August 25.  Rio is beautiful and the beaches are amazing. My assignment is “work force ops” in the Paralympic Family Hotel.  ThIMG_5756e hotel I work in is actually the “Windsor Barra” hotel and I live next door.  My one-bedroom apartment is across the street from the ocean and I have an ocean view. I can’t believe how lucky I got with my choice.

 

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Jun 28

Keating Aces Test as Certified Therapy Dog

Congratulations Keating! Miller Prosthetics & Orthotics is proud to announce that Keating has graduated and is now an official therapy dog. His certification from Therapy Dogs International (TDI) is a result of a series of classes and intense personal training.

Keating is now a certified therapy dog!

Keating just passed his Therapy Dog Test!

Owners Mark and Nancy Miller rescued the amputee puppy two years ago from a shelter in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Keating is a regular fixture at the offices. He greets patients, and shows them how happy and well-adapted he is with his artificial leg.

Keating graduated from two classes at the Parkersburg Obedience Club in 2014: Puppy Obedience and Basic Obedience. After the initial training and spending time in both offices, the Millers decided to step up the training. Amanda Ingram from Band of Canines Dog Training spent five days training Keating and Nancy in their office setting. Ms. Ingram has gained her experience in the Army, where she trained bomb-sniffing search dogs. Her technique worked well for the Miller-Keating pair.

Keating’s certification from TDI came just in time for him to join the Millers at the Amputee Coalition’s National Conference in Greensboro, NC. Keating’s official certification gave him access to the entire event, interacting with people from all over the world. “We knew Keating was a hit with our patients, but we never dreamed of the importance this dog holds, gauged by the reactions of the crowd. Many attendees were overcome with emotion, shedding tears, giving hugs, and taking lots and lots of pictures.” According to Nancy, Keating was in his element and loved every bit of the attention!

In addition to his time in the office, Keating visits clients every Tuesday morning at Belpre Landing, the brand new short-term rehabilitation and assisted living facility near their Belpre office.  He also plans to visit patients in the hospitals, nursing homes and definitely next year’s conference in Louisville, KY. If you have someone who may need a visit from this special dog, call Nancy Miller at 740-421-4211. You can also keep up with Keating and see additional photos at MillerPO.com/Inspiring-Stories/Keating.

Special Thanks to Ruth DeFranco (second from left) and the testing team in Alliance Ohio for arranging our testing day. Therapy Dogs International.

Special Thanks to Ruth DeFranco (second from left) and the testing team in Alliance Ohio for arranging our testing day. Therapy Dogs International.

 

“Look! He is just like me!”

Keating finds a new friend, Angel, at the National Amputee Coalition Conference June 2016.

 

Amputee Therapy Dog Keating poses with Reggie Showers

Keating poses with Reggie Showers, Professional Motorcycle Racer and recently crossed the Serengeti Desert with “Mygrations”, a program currently airing on the National Geographic Channel.

 

Keating poses with World Champion Triathlete Mabio Costa

Keating poses with Two-Time World Champion Triathlete, Mabio Costa! National Amputee Coalition Conference June 2016 in Greensboro, NC.

 

 

Jun 24

Louie the Beagle gets a new leg!

After six years of dragging his left back leg when he walked, Louie’s back hip started to break down. When Louie started scooting around because of the pain, owners Bob and Jill DePue decided to schedule hip surgery. They took one last shot at another option before pursuing surgery – why not try a prosthetic leg as their veterinarian suggested.

The Depue’s grandson Nicholas found Miller Prosthetics & Orthotics in Belpre, Ohio through the Ohio University Innovation Center, who recently 3-d printed a cart for the puppy “Tumbles”.     After speaking with Nancy Miller over the phone, Bob and Jill decided to take the 30-minute drive to Belpre for a consultation with Mark, who is a certified and licensed prosthetist and orthotist (usually for human patients). After examining and casting Louie, Mark was able to make the beagle a new back leg.

Louie was born without the leg and had never had a prosthesis, so learning how to walk on all four legs was a learning experience for the beloved beagle. After Louie tested out the leg at home, Mark made a few design changes.

Bob’s official therapy dog wears a vest that says “All Wounds Aren’t Visible”. This pertains to the effects of PTSD, common among combat veterans. The Millers are proud to be able to help Louie continue his therapy with Bob, who served our country in Vietnam.

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Louie walks on all four legs for the first time in six years!

 

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Louie the Beagle is happy with his new prosthetic leg. He is a therapy dog for his owner, and wears a vest that says “Not All Wounds Are Visible * PTSD Service Dog * Louie J.”

 

Close-up of Louie's Prosthetic Leg.

Close up of Louie’s Prosthetic Leg.

Louie the Beagle and his new Prosthetic Leg

Jun 23

Amputee Coalition National Conference June 2016

Amputee Coalition National Conference

Aug 21

Steve Lamp walks 2 miles after 2 days with his first prosthesis!

Before Steve was fit with his first prosthesis, he used the iWALK, hands free crutch. The iWALK kept the muscles in his residual limb in tone, and kept him walking.

Mark Miller, Licensed/Certified Prosthetist/Orthotist, commented on his experience with Steve:

“In my 27 years experience I have never seen a transtibial amputee do so well so quickly with their first prosthesis. His fitting was delayed for 3 or 4 months while healing. During that time, he used the iWALK which helped maintain strength in his upper leg, as well as his residual limb and core. The transition into the prosthesis was seamless. At his first fitting, he was going up and down ramps and curbs like he had the prostheses for a month. After two days, he walked in a community two-mile event from start to finish. He walked continuously at a normal pace with only one stop to add an additional 1-ply sock, which he did on his own. The following week, he walked in a 5K. On the third week, he rode his bike 3 miles.”

Due to the success of Steve, we now stock the iWalk at Miller Prosthetics & Orthotics in Parkersburg, WV and Belpre, Ohio. Along with below knee amputees, the iWALK is helpful for broken ankles or other foot injuries. If you can bend your knee at a 90 degree angle, you would be able to use the iWALK.

If you would like to try it out, give us a call at 304-699-2373.

Check out the customer testimonials on iWALK’s page: http://www.iwalk-free.com/amputee_testimonials