Monday, March 23, 2009

Cheerios boxes to feature athletes from veterans wheelchair games

From The Modesto Bee in California:

Joe Velasquez of Turlock has won a lot of honors as a Navy veteran, a wheelchair athlete and a man who inspires others. He's just claimed another award, perhaps the most unusual -- he's pictured on a cereal box.

Velasquez, often called "Rollin' Joe," is one of 12 gold medalists from the 2008 National Veterans Wheelchair Games chosen to be pictured on select boxes of Cheerios. The photo shows him playing pool; he competes in several sports and swimming has been his specialty.

The Cheerios boxes are sold only at military canteens and bases. As part of a promotional tour, Velasquez has visited three veterans hospitals in the past two weeks, signing autographs on, of course, Cheerios boxes.

In July, Velasquez will compete in the 2009 Veterans Administration National Wheelchair Games in Spokane, Wash. At the 2007 event, he not only collected five gold medals but also was selected for the "Spirit of the Games" award.

Velasquez was injured in a 1983 accident, when the car in which he was riding went out of control on an icy road in Idaho.