National Veterans Wheelchair Games Athlete Delivers Determination, Inspiration

PHOENIX (August 17, 2023) – At the National Veterans Wheelchair Games (NVWG) in Portland, Ore., July 4-9, each competitor arrived by a different journey, but the path of determination and inspiration to overcome challenge stayed remarkably true.

Ipo Valdez, 33, of Ewa Beach (O’ahu), Hawaii, a married former U.S. Army combat medic and proud mother of an infant daughter, heartily represented the competitive fire and inspiring light that forged ahead throughout the NVWG.

Years before her NVWG participation, in 2009 Valdez served in South Korea, her first duty station as a combat medic. She joined the Army in 2008, and after enlistment completed her 10-week Army Basic Training.

Valdez followed boot camp with successfully completing 16-weeks of Combat Medical Specialist Training to prepare for her permanent duty role. She soon thrived in her assignment with the 8th Army MEDCOM at Camp Humphreys Garrison in South Korea.

But soon her military service and life dramatically changed. Six months into her tour, she began to "have headaches for a while, maybe a month," Valdez said. She also began feeling "less active and tired," she added.

As a busy Army medic and ER shift leader, Valdez was uncertain if her symptoms weren’t simply fatigue. But in weeks her dedicated service and life would entirely change.

To read more and view pictures of Valdez's inspiration at the 2023 NVWG, see this new Healthy Homefront® feature spotlighting her story of determination.