The BlazeSports Triumph of the Human Spirit Awards will take place on November 5th, 2015 in Duluth Georgia. The awards will honor those who have made an impact in the field of adaptive sports in Georgia and who truly epitomize the Triumph of the Human Spirit. Our guest speakers are an inspirational group of individuals who have all faced great adversity in their lives and not only survived but thrived. They are leaders in adaptive sport and business, advocates, mentors and role models to all who are fortunate to meet them.
The Cloys are an inspiring couple who have experienced the benefits of sport in their lives and today share it with others. After losing both of his legs in a train accident at the age of 21, Gavin Cloy was introduced to wheelchair basketball, and the game has since taken him to compete as an athlete with the University of Illinois and in 2004 to the Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece where Team USA won 4th place. Two years later, Gavin and Team USA won a silver medal at the World Championships in Amsterdam. At the age of seven, Jessica Galli-Cloy was involved in a car accident that fractured her spine and left her paralyzed. Later discovering a love for track & field, Jessica competed throughout college and was a member of the US Paralympic track and field team from 1998 through 2012. On a national level, Jessica serves as an advocate and a voice for athletes, and she is a volunteer track coach for the BlazeSports America track & field program.
From the moment of birth, Michael Kutcher faced monumental challenges. He was born as the “unexpected” twin brother of Christopher “Ashton” Kutcher and entered the world notably smaller, less responsive and struggling to take his first breath. By age three, Michael showed signs of significant developmental delays due to his neurological issues and was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. He met the multiple challenges of Cerebral Palsy head-on. Today, Michael works for Transamerica Retirement Services, is an inspiring motivational speaker and devoted father and has participated in athletics throughout his life.
In 2004, Duane Morrow sustained a broken neck while playing rugby. For the past 10 years, he has played wheelchair quad rugby on the Shepherd Rugby Team and races for the Shepherd Center while maintaining a full family and work schedule. As Captain, he led the quad rugby team to First Place in the Division 2 Championship in 2013 and was awarded MVP of the 2014 5th Place Division 1 Team. Duane Morrow is Executive Vice President of Primerica and Chief Marketing Officer of Primerica Life and Canada Operations. Additionally, Duane serves on the Board of Directors for the Shepherd Center and BlazeSports America.
Giving up has never been an option for athlete Krige Schabort, a wounded war veteran who hails from South Africa and today lives in Cedartown, Georgia. At 24 years old, Krige was involved in a bomb blast that resulted in the amputation of both his legs and the removal of a portion of his stomach and one yard of his small intestine. Following his recovery, Krige established himself as a world-class athlete, winning marathons worldwide and taking up the sport of paratrithlon. He won a bronze medal in the marathon at the 1992 Summer Paralympic Games and a silver medal in the 2000 Paralympic Games. In 2015, Krige won an ESPN- ESPY Award (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award) for best male athlete with a disability.