A dynamic, engaging speaker, John Register commands his listeners’ attention with a mix of humor, emotion and enthusiasm. His relatable anecdotes about growing up are applicable to any audience. While his stories are presented in an amusing fashion- the life lessons to be learned and the outcomes achieved are easily recognized and powerful, with a lasting impact.
A born athlete, John was a collegiate four time All-American long jumper, hurdler, and 4x400m relay specialist at University of Arkansas. He twice qualified for the Olympic Trials — once in the 110m high hurdles and then in the 400m intermediate hurdles. Register enlisted in the U.S. Army to further his track pursuits, but his training time was interrupted by Operation Desert Storm. He deployed for seven months to Southwest Asia– an eye-opening experience he would never trade. On May 17, 1994, Register suffered a crippling injury that resulted in the amputation of his left leg. Though the injury dashed his hopes of making the Olympic team and permanently cancelled his Officer Candidate School report date, he refused to give up. Just 18 months later, he competed in the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta, Ga as a swimmer anchoring the 4×100 medley relay!
Two years later, he returned to his first athletic love- track and field- and qualified for the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney, Australia, and long jumped straight into the history books by winning the Silver medal and setting the American record in the process, all while becoming one of only two athletes in the world at that time to have jumped further than 17’8″ feet without a leg or knee.
In 2007, he was appointed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as one of eight members to advise the Secretary on Foreign Policy Issues regarding disability. He continued to serve in this capacity under Secretary Hillary Clinton.
Duane is the Executive Vice President of Field Marketing for Primerica. While living and working in England, Duane, an avid rugby player, broke his neck during a match in 2004. He was paralyzed from the chest down but life didn’t end there. As Duane would say his life simply changed and he adapted. Living a very active lifestyle, he is a competitive racer and also plays rugby, golf, tennis, water skis, snow skis and dives just for fun! Duane rehabilitated at the Shepherd Center with relentlessness and pushed the envelope with Shepherd Center to try an extreme therapy program. Duane’s passion and positivity is contagious and rubs off on everyone he meets including Shepherd patients that he takes time to meet with regularly. He currently serves on the Shepherd Center Foundation’s Board of Trustees and is the Board of Directors Chairman at BlazeSports America.