Blake Leeper was inducted into the Boys & Girls Club of America Alumni Hall of Fame.
Blake Leeper, U.S. paralympian, medalist in the 2012 Paralympics and a native of Kingsport, was one of eight people inducted into the Boys & Girls Club of America Alumni Hall of Fame recently.
Other 2013 inductees were U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro of San Antonio, Texas; Kelly Kulick, Professional Bowling Association Tour of Champions winner; Frank Robinson, Major League Baseball icon and the first African-American manager; Harris Rosen, founder of Rosen Hotels & Resorts; Raphael Saadiq, R&B performer and producer; Capt. (ret.) Winston Scott, NASA mission specialist; and Cmdr Robert Smith, the Coast Guard’s diversity champion.
“We are extremely proud of our alumni who have gone on to achieve great things,” said Jim Clark, president and CEO of BGCA. “Their stories are very different, but all start out the same — with life-changing programs, caring and attentive staff, and the fun and safety of a local Boys & Girls Club.
“This year’s class of inductees represents the power and impact a club has not only on character and development, but also healthy lifestyles, and academic success,” continued Clark. “The 2013 inductees, as well as the other Alumni Hall of Fame members, are living proof that Boys & Girls Clubs have the power to transform and save young lives every day.”
Other distinguished members of BGCA’s Alumni Hall of Fame include actor Denzel Washington, entertainer Jennifer Lopez, former NBA superstar Michael Jordan, WNBA standout Swin Cash, Olympic champion Jackie Joyner Kersee, and Gen. Wesley Clark, former NATO supreme allied commander.
Born without legs and feet, Leeper was fitted for his first prostheses as an infant. At the age of 5, he joined the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kingsport. Attending the club enabled him to develop his athletic skills and to understand that education always comes first.
In 2012, Leeper 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. He also plans to finish his bachelor’s degree in applied physics, and then study medicine.