Thunder wrestling to host Military Appreciation Night

JAN. 11 -- The Trine wrestling team will host a Military Appreciation Night at Thursday's match against Olivet.

The team will be raising funds to support Achilles International Freedom Team of Wounded U.S. Veterans. The Freedom Team was founded in 2004 and provides wounded veterans an opportunity to compete in events such as marathons and cycling events. Program participants receive training as well as use of specialized adaptive devices, such as hand-crank wheelchairs. All injured military personnel and veterans are eligible for the program, whether the injury is combat or non-combat related.

In addition to the Freedom Team, Achilles International sponsors chapter workouts in various cities and towns throughout the world. The organization also sponsors activities for children with disabilities, a para-triathlon team and a kayak program.

Six campus organizations have pledged to sponsor a weight class at the dual. The funds from each organization's sponsorship will be donated directly to Achilles to support the Freedom Team. The money will be used to help provide training opportunities, fund entry fees for competitions, purchase equipment for veterans and cover travel costs for individuals and their families.

Tom Davis, Fremont resident and former member of the Freedom Team will be in attendance to speak with the Thunder wrestling team before the dual and will address the crowd during intermission. Davis is a hopeful for the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Davis competes in marathon-distance handcycling races. He has won the Disabilities Division of the Detroit Marathon four straight years. Davis lost most of his left leg while serving as a staff sergeant in Iraq in 2006.

Thursday's wrestling dual against Olivet gets underway at 7 p.m. in Hershey Hall. The rivals have met every season since Trine's wrestling program was founded in 2004.