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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Silver Eagles Bring Home 24 Medals

September 2, 2008

Local Houston VA Team wins big at the
National Veterans Golden Age Games

HOUSTON - From the East Coast to the West Coast, more than 700 “golden age” veterans poured into Indianapolis, Indiana to participate in the largest sports and recreational competition for older veterans in the world. The 22nd National Veterans Golden Age Games, sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV) and the Veterans Canteen Service (VCS) was held last month.

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 by the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis, 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 shuffleboard.

The Silver Eagles, the team from the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC), brought home 24 medals this year. Eight were gold medals in events such as bowling, croquet, horseshoes, nine ball and shuffleboard. 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 competitors brought home medals:

1st Place (Gold Medal Winner) - Gloria Morris, Bowling
1st Place (Gold Medal Winner) -  Billy Lacy, Bowling
1st Place (Gold Medal Winner) - Marvin Zalesky, Bowling
1st Place (Gold Medal Winner) - Marvin Sims, Croquet
1st Place (Gold Medal Winner) - Pat Lynch, Horseshoes
1st Place (Gold Medal Winner) - Joseph Robert, Horseshoes
1st Place (Gold Medal Winner) - Henry Fagans, Nine Ball
1st Place (Gold Medal Winner) - Marvin Zalesky, Shuffleboard
2nd Place (Silver Medal Winner) - Joan Lance, Bowling
2nd Place (Silver Medal Winner) - Leon Robles, Cycling
2nd Place (Silver Medal Winner) - Jacqueline Beard, Dominoes
2nd Place (Silver Medal Winner) - Pat Lynch, Dominoes
2nd Place (Silver Medal Winner) - Billy Lacy, Golf
2nd Place (Silver Medal Winner) - Billy Lacy, Horseshoes
2nd Place (Silver Medal Winner) - Andrew Burks, Swimming 
2nd Place (Silver Medal Winner) - Andrew Burks, Table Tennis
3rd Place (Bronze Medal Winner) - August Gonsoulin, Bowling
3rd Place (Bronze Medal Winner) - Joan Lance, Checkers
3rd Place (Bronze Medal Winner) - Marvin Zalesky, Dominoes
3rd Place (Bronze Medal Winner) - John Holt, Dominoes
3rd Place (Bronze Medal Winner) - Johnnie Mooney, Golf
3rd Place (Bronze Medal Winner) - Basil Morehead, Shot Put
3rd Place (Bronze Medal Winner) - Marvin Sims, Swimming
3rd Place (Bronze Medal Winner) - Johnnie Mooney, Swimming

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.

In addition, the games provide a valuable outlet and a new opportunity for veterans to learn to cope with their disabilities. At the MEDVAMC, individuals have experienced profound changes through the games, learning to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, isolation issues, blindness, substance abuse, or the limiting effects of functional disabilities.

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