September 6, 2007
Local Houston VA Team wins big at the
National Veterans Golden Age Games
HOUSTON - From the East Coast to the West Coast, more than 600 “golden age” veterans poured into Houston, Texas to participate in the largest sports and recreational competition for older veterans in the world. The 21st National Veterans Golden Age Games, sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Veterans Canteen Service (VCS) and Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV) was held last week.
Golden Age Games competitions are open to all U.S. military veterans age 55 or older, currently receiving care at a VA medical facility. Hosted this year by the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, the Games give participants the opportunity to compete in open and wheelchair divisions according to their age, in sports such as swimming, bicycling, horseshoes, bowling, croquet, and air rifles.
The Silver Eagles, the team from the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC), brought home 33 medals this year. Eighteen were gold medals in events such as swimming, bowling, bicycling, air rifles, dominoes, golf, nine ball, shuffleboard and table tennis. But the accomplishments of this team span more than gold medals. The team is about fellowship, fun, and personal growth. These veterans represent the MEDVAMC with pride.
The following patients were members of the 2007 MEDVAMC Silver Eagles’ Team: Jewel Armstrong, Joseph Bartholow, Don Bosworth, Andrew Burks, Alton Dacus, James Davis, James Dyess, Bilal El Amin, Henry Fagans, August Gonsoulin, Alvin Harris, George Henry, William Hill, John Holt, David Howard, Raymond Jarmon, Billy Lacy, Robert Lambus, Joan Lance, John Lewis, Pat Lynch, Harry Lyons, Basil Morehead, Gloria Morris, Joseph Robert, Leon Robles, John Sedillo, Marvin Sims, William Smith, Mack Thrash, William Van Houten, Benjamin Wiley, Hillery Williams, James Williams, Jack Woodard and Marvin Zalesky. The coaches this year were MEDVAMC Recreation Therapists Stacey Spicer, Jemarques Handy and Robert Gordon and MEDVAMC Recreation Assistant Dennis Jones. If you would like to see photos of the competitors in action, visit http://www1.va.gov/vetevent/gag/2007/AthleteInfo.cfm.
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 availability of activities for disabled veterans reflects the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) commitment to fostering a positive, active environment with a desire to exhibit the abilities of all the veterans. Consequently, the demand to join the MEDVAMC Silver Eagles is tremendous.
“At last year’s event in Hampton, Virginia, I saw another participant proudly wearing a 9th Infantry Division hat. I hadn’t seen him in over 40 years. That is exactly one of the reasons I participate in the Games – to network and visit with fellow veterans,” said competitor John Holt.
The 22nd National Veterans Golden Age Games will take place August 20 – 24, 2008 in Indianapolis, Indiana.