Thirty-two local “golden age” Veterans who receive their care at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) will travel to Buffalo, New York May 30 – June 4, 2013, to compete in one of the most progressive and adaptive rehabilitative senior sports programs in the world - the National Veterans Golden Age Games (NVGAG).
"Staying active and healthy through sports and fitness is important for our nation’s Veterans,” said Adam C. Walmus, M.H.A., M.A., F.A.C.H.E., MEDVAMC director. "We are proud of the team that represents our medical center.”
The Silver Eagles team is not just a group of competitors - they are family. When they reminisce about last year’s games, their conversations are interrupted by uncontrollable laughter as they relate hilarious incidents and inside jokes.
“It really takes the stress off and gives me a sense of belonging,” said Army and Air Force Veteran Hillery Williams. “I look forward to competing and seeing people I have known for years.”
“Participating in the games gives me an opportunity to meet new Veterans. I am always looking for Vietnam Veterans who served with the 101st Airborne Division,” said Army Veteran Bernardino Saenz. “I enjoy competing and it gives me a chance to get away from my daily life and work on my PTSD.”
The Golden Age Games are not just for competition. There is ample time reserved for sightseeing and mingling with other Veterans. Social events such as special dinners and dances comprise much of the games. Fitness is an essential part of the games, but the VA recognizes the importance of social interaction and building both the mind and the body.
“The Golden Age Games are very essential to my mental and physical health. I have participated for the past six years,” said Marine Corps Veteran David Shepherd. “Each year is a great experience. I look forward to participating and I hope the games continue for many years. As long as my health allows me I will continue to participate.”
The competition features sports such as swimming, cycling, golf, track and field, bowling, table tennis and others, totaling 14 competitive events. Events are open to all U.S. military Veterans age 55 or older who are currently receiving care at any VA medical facility.
The 27th National Veterans Golden Age Games are co-sponsored by VA and the Veterans Canteen Service. This year’s event is hosted by the VA Western New York Healthcare System.
The NVGAG serve as a qualifying event for the National Senior Games. The National Senior Games Association is a community-based member of the United States Olympic Committee and recognizes senior athletes as the best athletes in their respective age groups in the United States.
For more information about the National Veterans Golden Age Games and other VA national rehabilitation programs, visit www.veteransgoldenagegames.va.gov or call Michael Molina,VA National Public Affairs Coordinator
at (202) 560-7305.