SPRINGFIELD – Blake Leeper, a renowned USA Paralympic athlete, will speak at the Springfield Boys & Girls Club, 481 Carew St., Springfield, on Friday, Sept. 11 at 4:30 p.m.

Blake LeeperLeeper is a bilateral below-the-knee amputee and has been using prosthetics since he was a young child. Even then, Leeper was determined to become a star athlete. At the age of five, he joined the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kingsport in Tennessee. Attending the Club enabled him to develop his athletic skills and understand that education always comes first. In 2012, Blake won silver and bronze at the London Paralympic Games. In 2016, he hopes to be the first American to compete in both the Paralympic and the Olympic Summer Games. Blake was inducted into the national Boys & Girls Club of America Hall of Fame in 2013.

“We are so pleased and excited to welcome Blake to the Club,” said Sarah Tsitso, executive director, Springfield Boys & Girls Club. “He is such an inspiration to Club kids across the country, teaching our youth that anything is possible with hard work and dedication. We want to thank Eastman for facilitating this program. We are grateful to local businesses like Eastman, which understands the importance of uniting health and wellness with education to empower our students to live positive lives. ”

Eastman is supporting Blake as he prepares for the 2016 Paralympic and Olympic Games as the company’s Health and Wellness Ambassador. “Blake is a real example of what it means to have an innovative spirit,” said Shayne Cowan, site manager for Indian Orchard Operations. “His strength of character and sheer resolve in the face of adversity are to be commended.”

Leeper’s program at the Springfield Boys & Girls Club is open to the public and is free of charge.

For more information about the event or the Springfield Boys & Girls Club, call (413) 732-7201.

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