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Presstalk topic deemed inappropriate, Financial help needed to compete

Presstalk topic deemed inappropriate

Bud McKelvey is right. The attack published in presstalk was inappropriate.

The Farragut Press Enterprise [farragutpress] should have conducted basic journalistic research before printing the anonymous words that impugned McKelvey’s work ethic and integrity.

I recognize that public figures can be attacked at anytime, often in ways that some would consider to be inappropriate or excessive. That comes with the job of being a public figure. At the same time, it may explain why many otherwise qualified citizens refuse to enter public life.

I don’t believe that the public works director is a public figure who should reasonably expect that the price of the job is loss of basic rights pertaining to what can be said about them. If you believe that Mr. McKelvey can be attacked because of his position with the town, please tell us where you draw the line. Is every employee of the Town, county, state or federal government vulnerable to these kinds of comments from either an anonymous or identified source?

I hope that in the future you will draw the line more carefully when you decide what to publish in presstalk.

You may publish my name; I’m willing to stand behind my opinion.

John Hoffman


Financial help needed to compete

Approximately three years ago I had an urge to try the sport of bobsled.

As time passed that urge became a dream. While I once thought of bobsledding as, “something that seemed cool, and that I might be good at” that is no longer the case. I have taken all of the possible steps to pursue excellence in the sport.

After over a year of training by myself, I finally received an opportunity to try out and I participated in an official United States Bobsled athletic testing camp that was held in Lake Placid, New York in April 2007. At the end of the camp, I was the 2nd ranked athlete out of all the 26 invited athletes. After passing the initial athletic test, it was time to see how I compared to past Olympians pushing a real bobsled. In June of 2007, I participated in a push camp in Park City, Utah, with the No. 2 ranked bobsled driver in the United States. At this camp I was able to push times that were very competitive with athletes who had been on the national and Olympic teams in the past.

After this camp, I spoke with my school advisors and decided that I would put my full scholarship to graduate school on hold

and fully pursue my dreams

of becoming an Olympic


I wanted to be the absolute best I could be at this sport, and restructured my life so that I could strive for excellence in the most effective way possible. Since then I have participated in the official 2007 athlete testing camp and the 2007 National Bobsled Team Trials which were both held in Lake Placid, New York.

While at the national team trials, I was paired with the elite development driver and suffered my first bobsled crash and concussion. It was a traumatic experience, but I have recovered, recuperated, and am anxious to get back into the sled.

This season, I am excited to be competing with the No. 4 ranked team in the USA with driver Grayson Fertig. We will be competing from the time I write this letter through March. Our competitions will take place in New York, Utah, Canada, and Europe. These competitions will be great opportunities for me to prove myself as a world class push athlete in the sport.

Bobsled is a very taxing and time consuming sport with long hours of working out, mechanical work on the sleds, and plenty of training runs slamming you around at 80 miles an hour. Taking the bumps and bruises that come with the sport is a tremendous challenge.

However, one of the biggest challenges that comes with participating in the sport is finding a way to afford to live and train effectively. This is extremely important during the winter months where it is nearly impossible to train, compete, travel regularly and work a job. In the past year, I have already spent more than $5,000 of my savings pursuing my dream.

This money has gone towards bobsled camp fees, airline flights, other travel expenses, bobsled equipment, training shoes and clothing and specialized workout equipment. As much as I wish I could continue like this, I will not be able to continue affording such expenses. I have included the tables below so that you can see a typical day in the life of a bobsledder during season and the expenses that I will incur from December through March.

The U.S. Olympic Committee and the U.S. Bobsled Federation aim to help athletes with these costs, but there is simply not much money and most of it is directed towards the No. 1 ranked team in the United States. Competing for the No. 1 ranked team is something that I firmly believe I will be doing in the coming years. I am committed to this sport through the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and beyond, and firmly believe I will be competing as a brakeman in 2010 Vancouver games. Getting to that point is something that I simply will not be able to do on my own financially.

If you are able to make a sponsorship or donation to help me defray training costs while I am competing during the winter months that would be greatly appreciated.

While donations, gifts, and sponsorships are extremely helpful, your thoughts, prayers and constant encouragement are tremendously appreciated as well.

I thank you for your support of my dream and my pursuit of excellence through sport.

Willie Parker



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