On Sunday, October 29th, Pete Cuffaro, a prior client of DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s West Virginia Chapter and presented with the Medal of Courage for his dedication to the sport and overcoming adversity.
Cuffaro of Wheeling, West Virginia had wrestled since he was in middle school, and continued to wrestle throughout his life. But this changed soon after he graduated from West Virginia University.
On June 25, 1983, Cuffaro dove into a pool that didn’t have the depth clearly marked. The hospital misdiagnosed his injuries and sent him home. By the next day, the 24-year-old Cuffaro was paralyzed. But Cuffaro never let his injuries stop him from living his life. He became heavily involved high school wrestling, one of his favorite passions.
Cuffaro’s involvement with the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference has been crucial for about 50 years. He also spent some of that time volunteering at the OVAC Ron Mauck Tournament.
He credits his success to his wife, Erin, family, and close friends for helping him get to this point. Sam and Rudy Mumley, two of Cuffaro’s mentors, got Cuffaro involved with OVAC and his involvement only increased from there.
In OVAC, Cuffaro kept the clock at games, motivated young people, and was invited to come to practices. He was truly a member of the team.
Cuffaro also provides a scholarship that was made in honor of Daniel Burke, the son of his friends Bob and Delores Burke, who passed away in a car crash when Cuffaro was in college. Bob and Delores started the scholarship, but after the funds ran out, Pete and Erin took responsibility of the scholarship.
Since 1984, the Daniel Burke Memorial Scholarship has helped young people involved in OVAC wrestling. This scholarship isn’t only for teenagers going to college. If the student wanted to go to trade school, they could be offered the scholarship, too. Cuffaro also does motivational speaking to encourage young people to learn from their successes and failures. He relates how academics and sports help prepare children for the future.
Pete Cuffaro’s resilience and positive outlook on life has made him a true role model for many young people. His dedication to volunteering in athletics shows how much he believes they can benefit the students that participate in them. This honor means a lot to Cuffaro, because he never expected an award for his work that benefited so many others.