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EN GARDE: Kern Athletic Fencing Foundation earns award from USA Fencing

Recognized for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging through supporting local parafencers
Posted at 10:50 AM, Apr 17, 2024
  • Video shows a local parafencing tournament
  • Kevin Reeve lost his arm and leg in a motorcycle crash eight years ago. Following his six month long recovery, he began parafencing to stay active.
  • Kern Athletic Fencing Foundation supports athletes like Kevin Reeve by allowing them to fence for free, and they earned a DEIB award from USA Fencing for their work to include others.

Kern Fencing earned a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging award from USA Fencing in April for supporting athletes like Kevin Reeve, a local fencer who’s career we’ve been following since 2023.
“En garde… ready… fence”

Starting attacks is where it all began for Kevin Reeve, en route to a top 3 national ranking.

“Third in our nation means you’ve got a lot of work to do,” he laughed.

His competitive nature means more work lies ahead to qualify for the 2028 Olympic games, but Reeve has never shied away from a challenge.

“I was on a motorcycle and I was in a crash," he said. "I flew past a wire that severed the arm and the leg right there.”

That was 8 years ago.

Reeve says he remembers sliding up to an ambulance while the crew grabbed lunch.

“They’re like that’s the only reason you survived. If we were five minutes away, you would have bled out, so it was pretty cool to be able to make it, I guess.”

During his six-month-long recovery, he says doctors told him he would only walk again for 15 minutes at a time.

“Kinda annoys me that doctors kinda would give people a limitation," Reeve said. "Me, I’m competitive, so you tell me I’m only gonna walk 15 minutes in a day like I’m gonna prove you wrong.”

And he’s proved them wrong when he joined para fencing to stay active.

“It’s part of inclusion. How can we include people that are less fortunate that need an outlet,” Lucas Dobrazanski, the founder and president of Kern Athletic Fencing Foundation said.

He says they received an award from USA Fencing for their efforts to include others in the sport, and it comes with $1000 to cover expenses like entry fees.

“We provide also free fencing for people with physical disabilities like Kevin,” Dobrazanski added.

Liz Geyer, the program director says they’re one of few organizations nationwide creating this opportunity for parafencers.

“Nationally there’s not very many," Geyer said. "There’s a couple dozen at the most, nationally, offering parafencing.”

She says there's even fewer in California, telling me her organization is one of three in the state.

Because Reeve began fencing two years ago, he started too late to collect enough points for the 2024 Olympics, but he’s ready to compete in the next season.

“When the LA Olympics come in 2028, we have a game plan to get there, and it looks like we’re going to be very competitive to make that.”

Reeve says it takes a full four-year season to accumulate enough points to make it to the Olympics and he’s preparing to earn his spot on the 2028 LA Olympic team.

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