2015 Tournament Winners Announced

The 69th Annual BVL VA Bowling Tournament scores have been tallied and the results are in the books and while some of the usual facilities dominated certain divisions – Bay Pines (FL) in the Seniors Division, Brockton (MA) in the Wheelchair Division and Boise (ID) in the Vision Impaired Division — several “new” teams worked their way into first place in several of the more competitive divisions.

The tournament is open to all veterans connected with the VA Medical Center system and is coordinated through recreation therapists on site at the facilities. It has eight separate divisions (based on hospital size, as well as physical and age parameters); there are also two divisions for electronic bowling. Teams of five – with up to three alternates – bowl a total of 45 games and submit scores to BVL. All competitors receive a certificate of participation, and team members in the top three teams in each division receive medals.

The tournament was first introduced in 1947 to provide a recreational outlet for those hospitalized veterans returned from the battlefields of Europe and Asia. The inaugural event was conducted on the White House bowling lanes with President Truman on hand to confer awards. The tournament has been conducted annually since.

“This tournament has a rich and proud tradition – illustrating one of BVL’s first programs developed to utilize recreation therapy as a way to engage and involve hospitalized veterans in a fun activity that boosts morale and speeds recuperation,” notes BVL Board Chair John LaSpina. “From this tournament, developed almost 70 years ago, to the bowling events we regularly host for the recuperating active duty members in care at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, BVL continues to stand at the forefront of literally hundreds of rec therapy programs.”

Taking first place in the 2015 tournament’s competitive Ambulatory Bowlers Division One was a team from the Bath (NY) VAMC. “This team consisted of bowlers ranging in ages from 28 to 60 years of age,” explains recreation therapist Beth Gardner-Cuer. “Even with such differences in age, the competition provides the occasion for different generations to connect. We are always grateful to participate in the BVL tournament.” The Bath facility has six very well used bowling lanes on their campus which offer the veterans many practice sessions. Continues Gardner-Cuer, “The sport of bowling provides opportunities for socialization, physical exercise, team spirit, healthy competition and camaraderie – it’s an integral part of our recreation therapy program here in Bath.”

Tom E. Harris, a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist at the Charlie Norwood VAMC in Augusta (GA) facility, echoes Garner-Cuer’s comments, “Our veterans look forward to this tournament every year and enjoy the competition. I’m pleased with their work on upper extremity strength and balance. Bowling also helps them concentrate on a task, and encourages respect for their fellow teammates.” Harris’ veterans earned first place in the tournament’s largest Division – Outpatient. In the 2015 event, the top teams in each division were:

Up to 499 ADPL (Average Daily Patient Load)

  1. Bath (NY) VAMC
  2. St. Cloud (MN) VAMC
  3. St. Cloud (MN) VAMC

500 or over ADPL

  1. Providence (RI) VAMC
  2. Martinsburg (WVA) VAMC
  3. McGuire (VA) VAMC


  1. Charlie Norwood (GA) VAMC
  2. Washington DC VAMC
  3. Martinsburg (WVA) VAMC

Seniors (All)

  1. Bay Pines (FL) VA Healthcare
  2. Bay Pines (FL) VA Healthcare
  3. Bay Pines (FL) VA Healthcare

Wheelchair (All)

  1. Brockton (MA) VAMC
  2. Central Arkansas VHS, Eugene Towbin Healthcare Center
  3. Tomah (WI) VAMC

Vision Impaired

  1. Boise (ID) VAMC
  2. Memphis VAMC

E Bowling

  1. Washington DC VAMC
  2. Bath (NY) VAMC
  3. Washington DC VAMC

E Bowling Seniors

  1. Dayton VAMC Community Living Center (CLC)
  2. St Cloud (MN) VA Health Care System
  3. Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center (TX) CLC

“Although teams placed first, second and third in their respective divisions, the reality is hundreds and hundreds of our nation’s Veterans are winners: joining together with their teammates to bowl, but at the same time develop social skills which positively impacts emotional status and improves health and well-being,” noted Larry Long, National Director of Recreation Therapy Service, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Central Office in Washington, DC. “Although BVL supports a wide range of recreational activities and programs at all VA medical facilities and Vet Centers, the national tournament is a much anticipated annual event.”

Founded in 1942, BVL is a national 501 (c) (3) charity which is consistently acknowledged for efficient and effective programming delivered with extremely low overhead. BVL has been recognized as one of “America’s Best Charities,” earned a “Top Rated” Nonprofit distinction, and accepted into the Combined Federal Campaign (#93325).

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