Veterans and an employee with the Department of Veterans Affairs were among the more than 400 U.S. Paralympians and Olympians celebrated at the White House last week.
“The Olympian in me is just so proud to be here, the federal employee in me is just like through the roof,” said Natalie Dell, a member of the U.S. Olympic Rowing team and an employee with the VA.
The gathering was on the White House lawn. It gave the athletes a chance to talk with and even get a hug from President Obama, Vice President Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama. A video even caught Olympic diver David Boudia letting the president try on his gold medal.
The front row was saved for the Paralympians in wheelchairs. Mrs. Obama walked down the line shaking hands and talking with the athletes including Scott Winkler, a member of the U.S. Olympic Team in track & field and an Iraq War Veteran.
“I have a motto: if you believe you can achieve,” said Winkler. “And, if you want anything in life, if you believe in it hard enough you can achieve those goals like we have.”