Cooper Blair, a Marshall County native, is on his way to Chile to compete in the 2023 Parapan Pan American Games as a member of the US Olympic Team.
The 2023 Parapan Pan American Games will be held in Santiago, Chile, from Nov. 17 through Nov. 26. Cooper will be competing in the games on November 23. That’s Thanksgiving Day back here in the United States.
Cooper is a student majoring in Biology at the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Oh., and competes there as a student-athlete. His track bests include running the 60 in 7.77, the 100 in 11.35, the 200 in 22.95, and the 400 in 55.35. Though this is impressive on its own, it is awe-inspiring when you consider that at the age of two, Cooper had to have both of his legs amputated below the knees. This was caused by a rare condition before birth known as amniotic band syndrome.
Cooper’s timeline to recovery as a two-year-old was testimony to his competitive nature. His amputation surgery was conducted in September; he received his first prosthetic limbs in November and was walking by December of that same year.
“He started walking on Christmas Day and has been running ever since,” his mother, Richelle Blair, said, Cooper doesn’t limit teamwork to his university or athletics. Teamwork is part of his everyday life.
“Cooper joined our Unified Team early last summer as a part-time Customer Service Representative Intern and served on the frontline in our Martins Ferry banking center,” said Scott Everson, Unified President, Chairman, and CEO.
Everson added that Cooper is one of three Blair family members on Team Unified. Zack Blair, Cooper’s father, is a Senior Commercial Banking Executive with Unified, and his sister, Camryn Blair, also works as a part-time CSR Intern at Unified’s Moundsville banking center.
“All of us on Team Unified wish Cooper the best in Chile and look forward to having him back on our frontline as his school and athletic schedule permits,” Everson added.
Cooper said that Unified Bank has provided him with immense continued support from the first day his family joined the Unified community.
“Team Unified has always been the first to help and support me in achieving my goals,” Cooper said, adding that from an early age, it has been his dream to represent and be a member of Team USA.
Unified Bank is a full-service Member FDIC-insured, state-chartered commercial bank headquartered in Martins Ferry, OH and has eighteen locations that serve the Ohio counties of Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Fairfield, Harrison, Hocking, Jefferson and Tuscarawas and Marshall County in West Virginia. Unified Bank is the sole operating subsidiary of United Bancorp, Inc. (UBCP), a publicly-traded bank holding company, and has been serving the financial needs of the Ohio Valley since 1902 from its headquarters in Martins Ferry, Ohio.
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