It is with a heavy heart that we announce Rene Peterson, a friend of our Warrior Veterans Adaptive Sports Club team members, passed away on August 27, 2021. Rene Peterson was an Army Veteran who was stationed in Beirut during the conflict and subsequently, was injured in a car accident in 2006. Shortly thereafter, he began to compete in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games. William Hendrickson (Wheelchair Willie), equipment manager and one of the first Veterans to join the team, has been competing against Rene in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games for over a decade; where they became close and developed a strong bond. Their journey began roughly twelve years ago; Willie met fellow Army Veteran Rene Peterson at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Denver, Colorado. Rene competed in his class level at the game, where they became fierce competitors against each other in the slalom, also known as the obstacle course. The rivalry continued for many years; each year they would push each other to the limit to the point of making silly bets. One year, the bet was that the loser would shave his head and another year, the loser had to wear a dress. This year, Rene finally beat Willie after 9 years! Willie was very proud of his friend and his accomplishment. In Willie’s words, “It was a joy to see the victory in his eyes when he won.” Only a few days after the games, Rene passed away, leaving a deep sadness inside Willie.
Willie is deeply honored that Rene’s family contacted him about attending his funeral and speaking about his friend and fellow Veteran. Veterans Mobility Projects will be sponsoring Willie to fly to Kansas City, Missouri to attend and speak at Rene’s celebration of life.
Rene Peterson’s Celebration of Life will be held Friday, September 17th, 2021 from 2 pm to 5 pm at the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) building located at 14605 E US Hwy 40, Kansas City, MO 64136.
The Family requests in lieu of flowers that donations be made in Rene’s honor to American Legion Post 189 (Robert L. Clore Post 189), Attention: VMAP (Veterans Mobility Assistance Program), 820 SE Vista Drive, Lee’s Summit, Missouri 64086.
Rene Peterson will never be forgotten. Rest in peace. Kristina Chase, Writer, Cloverlane Foundation, Contributions from William Hendrickson