34 years ago, Pam Schroeder was involved in a tragic car accident that left her with 2 broken legs, a broken back, and 3 fractured ribs. She thought she may never recover, but after years in rehabilitation, she was able to return to work. Having a debilitating injury shouldn’t mean the end of a productive life—every American deserves a chance to regain independence and return to work like Pam did. Learn more about Pam’s story and my efforts to support access to rehabilitation.

Did you know? 10 facts about Chicago from Buzzfeed:

  • The four stars on the Chicago flag represent Fort Dearborn, the Chicago fire, the World’s Columbian Exposition, and the Century of Progress Exposition.
  • Chicago River is the only river in the world that flows backward.
  • The first blood bank in the United States was created in Chicago in 1937.
  • The Twinkie was invented in Chicago in 1930.
  • The first all-color TV station made its debut in Chicago in 1956.
  • In 1893, the first open heart surgery in the United States was performed in Chicago.
  • Chicago inventor Martin Cooper invented the first cell phone.
  • The Ferris wheel was also invented in Chicago in 1893.
  • The zipper was invented in Chicago in 1851.
  • The vacuum cleaner was invented in Chicago in 1868.

40 more Chicago facts from Buzzfeed.  To learn more about Illinois, visit my website.

I am joining with the Red Cross this month to honor everyday heroes in Illinois. In recognition of Severe Weather Awareness Week, I commend the 182nd Airlift Wing of the Illinois Air National Guard and all of the volunteers who helped the victims of Washington, Ill., and the other towns in our state affected by the deadly tornadoes this past November.
Learn more about the 182nd Airlift Wing on my blog.

I am joining with the Red Cross this month to honor everyday heroes in Illinois. In recognition of Severe Weather Awareness Week, I commend the 182nd Airlift Wing of the Illinois Air National Guard and all of the volunteers who helped the victims of Washington, Ill., and the other towns in our state affected by the deadly tornadoes this past November.

Learn more about the 182nd Airlift Wing on my blog.

Patrick McDonald Private First Class, U.S. Army (Retired)Sport: Wheelchair curlingBio: Patrick McDonald, a U.S. Army veteran, lost the use of his legs in 1991 when the armored personnel carrier he was riding in rolled on the way back from patrol in Korea. A life-long athlete, he turned to sport for rehabilitation. McDonald began curling in 2007. He competed at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, where Team USA was fourth, and three World Curling Federation World Wheelchair Championships. McDonald became the Team USA skip in 2012 and helped the team to a fourth place finish at 2013 worlds. He and his wife, Carrie, have one daughter, Andie, and one son, Kaelen.
(Bio Courtesy of U.S. Olympic Committee)
For more, visit my website.

Patrick McDonald
Private First Class, U.S. Army (Retired)
Sport:
Wheelchair curling
Bio: Patrick McDonald, a U.S. Army veteran, lost the use of his legs in 1991 when the armored personnel carrier he was riding in rolled on the way back from patrol in Korea. A life-long athlete, he turned to sport for rehabilitation. McDonald began curling in 2007. He competed at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, where Team USA was fourth, and three World Curling Federation World Wheelchair Championships. McDonald became the Team USA skip in 2012 and helped the team to a fourth place finish at 2013 worlds. He and his wife, Carrie, have one daughter, Andie, and one son, Kaelen.

(Bio Courtesy of U.S. Olympic Committee)

For more, visit my website.

Josh Sweeney Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired)Sport: Sled hockeyBio: Retired Marine Josh Sweeney made his debut with the 2011-12 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. Now in his third season with the team, he is a world champion and a world silver medalist. He hopes to make his Paralympic Winter Games debut in March 2014. Sweeney was a month into his second deployment when a bomb exploded beneath him in Nowzad, Afghanistan, on Oct. 28, 2009. Two MEDEVAC vehicles sent to rescue him both hit improvised explosive devices en route to Sweeney, leaving him to wait two hours before he was transported from the blast site. Both his legs were later amputated.
(Bio Courtesy of U.S. Olympic Committee)
For more, visit my website.

Josh Sweeney
Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired)
Sport:
Sled hockey
Bio: Retired Marine Josh Sweeney made his debut with the 2011-12 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. Now in his third season with the team, he is a world champion and a world silver medalist. He hopes to make his Paralympic Winter Games debut in March 2014. Sweeney was a month into his second deployment when a bomb exploded beneath him in Nowzad, Afghanistan, on Oct. 28, 2009. Two MEDEVAC vehicles sent to rescue him both hit improvised explosive devices en route to Sweeney, leaving him to wait two hours before he was transported from the blast site. Both his legs were later amputated.

(Bio Courtesy of U.S. Olympic Committee)

For more, visit my website.

Paul Schaus Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired)Sport: Sled hockeyBio: A Purple Heart recipient, Paul Schaus was injured by an improvised explosive device while serving the U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan in 2009. He played two seasons (2010-12) with the USA Warriors, an organization that provides ice hockey programs for individuals who were disabled during service to the United States Armed Forces, before making his national team debut in the 2012-13 season.
(Bio Courtesy of U.S. Olympic Committee)
For more, visit my website.

Paul Schaus
Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired)
Sport:
Sled hockey
Bio: A Purple Heart recipient, Paul Schaus was injured by an improvised explosive device while serving the U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan in 2009. He played two seasons (2010-12) with the USA Warriors, an organization that provides ice hockey programs for individuals who were disabled during service to the United States Armed Forces, before making his national team debut in the 2012-13 season.

(Bio Courtesy of U.S. Olympic Committee)

For more, visit my website.