ROCKY HILL, Conn. — Bob Backlund honored war veterans with a visit to the Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs Veterans Home. The WWE Hall of Famer gave an inspirational speech, signed autographs and posed for photos with many resident vets.
“It's really an honor to come here and take a little time to speak with you,” he said to the veterans, some whose service dates back to World War II. “I couldn't wait to get here today. I was as excited as I was going to Madison Square Garden.”
While the vets ate lunch together, the former champion shared stories about his experiences starting out as a WWE Superstar and how he went above and beyond expectations to find success.
“Because of that extra mile, I got put in the position to become WWE Champion,” he said.
The WWE Hall of Famer, who has been visiting the veterans in his home state, Connecticut, since the 1980s, encouraged the residents to exercise and focus on fitness as a way to look forward to their futures.
“The older you get, the more important the training is,” he said. “I want to come back here sometime and exercise with you. “
Backlund’s commitment to fitness has vastly improved his life, and he believes it can positively influence the veterans’ lives. That’s why he plans to return to the Veterans Home to work out with the residents and offer tips on staying healthy and strong.
“I’m going to come back and have an exercise program with all the veterans who want to get involved. I’m excited about it,” he told WWE.com.
Maria Cheney, director of Residential Programs & Services for Connecticut’s Department of Veterans’ Affairs, said Backlund’s visit offers hope to our nation’s heroes who live at the home.
“I think for some of our veterans who have found themselves on very hard times, to hear that and know if you never give up, always keep persevering, you can have a good life for yourself and you can be happy in this life,” she said.
For the WWE Hall of Famer, returning to the Veterans Home is the least he can do to honor those who served in the United States Military, not only this Memorial Day, but also year-round.
“The veterans, when they were young, they got into service and they protected us. They saved our freedom, they saved our liberty, they saved some of our families and they fought for us,” Backlund said. “It’s very important to honor and respect the people who protected us in the past.”