Texas Governor Rick Perry Honors 2008 U.S. Paralympians

Jan. 23, 2009, 3:36 p.m. (ET)

AUSTIN, Texas - Gov. Rick Perry today honored Texas athletes and coaches who participated in the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games with proclamations recognizing their accomplishments at a reception and photo opportunity at the State Capitol.

"This year's Paralympic Games engaged and inspired the world and reminded us of the resilience of the human spirit and the pride of accomplishment," Gov. Perry said. "I'm proud of these Texans for representing the Lone Star State in Beijing and continuing the time honored tradition of sportsmanship and unity at the Paralympic Games."

The governor noted that Texas Paralympians are role models for all Texans, motivating others to live healthier lifestyles. For young Texans in particular, these athletes are an example of how discipline, strong character and dedication lead to success.

An avid runner, Gov. Perry has made fitness and healthy lifestyle choices an important part of his healthcare initiatives. Too many Texans face serious health problems as a result of poor nutrition and lack of exercise. Complications from being obese cost the state billions of dollars each year from lost productivity and increased burden on the healthcare system.

Recently, the governor participated in the Capitol Steps Challenge, a two week competition in which he challenged governors from the 49 other states and their teams to participate by wearing pedometers to clock their daily activity. The winning state team will be declared the Most Active Governor's Team in the nation at the Capitol Steps Challenge Awards event Feb. 21, 2009, in Washington D.C. They will also be presented with a $50,000 donation to their state's childhood obesity program by Sir Richard Branson and Virgin HealthMiles.

In 2004, Gov. Rick Perry launched the Texas Round-Up statewide fitness initiative and 10K race to motivate and encourage Texans to become more active and to incorporate healthy choices in their daily lives. Today, Texas Round-Up is an independent not-for-profit organization working to improve the health of Texas through education and promotion of physical activity and healthy living. Texas Round-Up provides Texans with tools, opportunities, and programs that encourage and allow for Texans of all ages and fitness levels to participate.