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Holly S. Koester

Hall of Fame Class of /Taxonomy/Topics/All Topics/Department Of Veterans Services/Hall of Fame/Honorees/2017

Holly S. Koester

Holly Koester, 57, of Walton Hills in Cuyahoga County, served in the U.S. Army from 1981 to 1991 until she was injured. A 2006 graduate of Cleveland State University, Holly is a substitute teacher for grades K-8. In 1996, she started racing in marathons, displaying her amazingly competitive spirit. In fact, she is the first person to complete a marathon in all 50 United States in a wheelchair. Holly received a resolution from the Ohio House of Representatives for her performance in the 2016 National Veterans Wheelchair Games, which netted her six gold medals. She attended her first National Veteran Wheelchair Games in 1991 and has attended every year since as an athlete and mentor. She is sports director and secretary for the Buckeye Chapter Paralyzed Veterans of America. In 2017, the National PVA honored Holly with the Speedy Award, the highest honor that the group bestows. Holly is involved in local organizations including the Heritage Congregational Church and Berea Millstream Quilters, making children’s charity quilts and veterans’ valor quilts. In 2013, NASCAR driver Sam Schmidt presented Holly with the Spirit of Ability Award by Braun Mobility. She is a peer counselor for newly injured spinal cord veterans at the Cleveland VA and a motivational speaker who has addressed veterans’ organizations, school groups and attendees at Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies.

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