Lebanon native and Paralympic gold medalist Ryan Neiswender was among the Paralympians recognized personally by President Joe Biden at a May 4 ceremony held on the South Lawn of the White House.

Read More: Hard work pays off: Lebanon native Ryan Neiswender wins gold at Paralympics

In his remarks to the 600 or so assembled athletes, President Biden discussed the importance of possibilities for Americans and the role breaking limits has for our society.

“We believe: In America, anything is possible,” said Biden. “And you are the explanation of what we mean.

“You represent the very soul of America, and that’s not hyperbole. You genuinely do.”

Neiswender was in D.C. for about 24 hours to participate in the recognition ceremonies, which also included an Athlete Gala that Neiswender was able to attend. Prior commitments prevented him from attending other programming arranged that week for Paralympians.

Neiswender was joined by his entire Team USA basketball squad, with the exception of teammate Brian Bell who was finishing up his season in Europe, Neiswender said.

Neiswender said it was amazing for the team to be together again and celebrate. It was their first time reuniting as a group since their gold medal showing in Tokyo last fall.

“It was so great to get the team back together!”

Neiswender (front row, far right) was joined in Washington, D.C., by nearly all his teammates from the Team USA basketball squad, which took the gold medal in the Tokyo Paralympics. (Provided photo)

Neiswender said that he and Biden were able to greet each other following the president’s remarks, and Neiswender thanked the president for his leadership to the country.

“This is a country where we do have the ability to chart our own course,” said Neiswender. “We are all given different hands in life, but we have so many possibilities in front of us if we choose to pursue them.”

Neiswender said that the President’s remarks brought back all of the moments in his career where he wanted to throw in the towel and move on from the sport, because he knew what he’d have to give up to make his dream of becoming a Paralympic gold medalist a reality.

Read More: Gold medalist Ryan Neiswender uses new fame to aid people with disabilities

“It also reminded me of how I now see life through a different lens as I am on the other side of that goal and what it truly means to break through limits,” said Neiswender.

Ryan Neiswender poses on May 4 with President Joe Biden on the White House lawn.

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