Get On Up

With more than two decades of boots-on-the-ground operational experience as a naval medical officer Navy Capt. Robert Koffman, M.D. says there’s no secret to the key to reduced stress and anxiety, increased brain health, and improved sleep patterns: EXERCISE. Whether that physical activity takes place as part of a team, as an individual in a gym, or out on the hiking trail (with the added therapeutic benefit of nature), veterans can reap big rewards with as little as thirty minutes of exercise a day three days a week. The upshot of those 90 minutes? A boost in: norepin...

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Nurtured By Nature

Break out the salsa bowls! This spring and beyond, residents at the Fresno Veterans Home will be taking full advantage of the California sunshine thanks to a variety of new outdoors-based programs funded by BVL… Two potting benches will provide the base for a gardening effort where veterans will be planting tomatoes and peppers in elevated gardening beds at the facility (supplies will be kept in the two new storage sheds BVL purchased). After a morning of gardening, veterans can enjoy the sun by peddling around on the new adult three-wheel bikes (complete with safety ...

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One fish, two fish, calm fish, soothe fish…

Thanks to a grant from the Monmouth County USBC, veterans at the New Jersey State Veterans Home in Menlo Park are experiencing reduced levels of stress and anxiety as they enjoy the palliative effects of watching the fish in their two new giant aquariums purchased thanks to the $9,000 raised by the MCUSBC for BVL. Menlo Park Recreation Director Marsha Lasko noted, “The aquariums provide a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere for the veterans at the home. Residents who are exposed to the beauty of the fish tanks appear to be more relaxed and alert. As we’ve seen in so many ...

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“Creating” a New Lease on Life

It’s a new year, and a renewed time for veterans in care at VA Hospitals nationwide to test their creative mettle… During January, February and March, veterans enrolled at VA medical facilities or outpatient clinics are invited to enter their art, music, dance, drama and creative writing entries into the local competition phase of the 2017 National Veterans Creative Arts Competition.  A longtime supporter of the event, BVL believes in and understands the value of art therapy.  Veterans:  Get out your paintbrushes, pianos, and powerful voices.   Share your soul’s ...

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Biking into the Future

Biking into the Future
As he slips into the seat of his new custom-made cycle near the starting line, without pedaling one foot of the El Tour de Tucson bike race,  Miguel has already gone a long way.   In fact, riding with a bunch of his buddies from the El Paso VA, Miguel, and their recreation therapist, Corinne, have already gone a long way together. “Training for, planning for, and participating in this race has truly created a life-changing impact on these veterans,” explains Corinne.  “Cycling has given this group the framework to build a healthy lifestyle for both mind and ...

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Painting with a Purpose

Thanks to BVL, veterans at the Ohio Veterans Home in Georgetown are finding their creative spark, as well as learning a lifelong leisure skill, through a special art program designed to provide the tips, tools and techniques to get their juices flowing.   Says Activity Director Melissa Ladd, “The veterans experience so much satisfaction from starting with a blank canvass and working toward a beautiful picture that they are proud to display in their room or share with their loved ones. I personally love hearing the veterans say, ‘There is no way I can do that, I ...

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Horses Healing Heroes

horse
Gulf War Veteran Ben Hernandez still remembers clearly the carnage he witnessed on the infamous “Highway of Death” leading from Kuwait into Iraq. “It was a massacre. It got into my head.” That, combined with a friendly fire attack, plus an enemy bombardment resulted in PTSD issues upon his return. He is in counseling and under the doctor’s care at the Southern Nevada VA Hospital, and he’s better… But discovering the special healing properties through the equine therapy program funded by BVL has really made a difference. Getting outdoors, caring for the horses ...

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Get On Board

  “Surf’s Up” is not just the rallying cry of Southern California beachgoers – Every September it is the call to recently-injured veterans to try their skills in a variety of water sports at the National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic (NVSSC). Thanks to this event, veterans get the chance to (among other sports) surf, sail, and row. Said one participant, “Sometimes we just need a little push. I think once you try adaptive sports it becomes a motivator to challenging yourself. I’ve done things as an amputee that I would never have dreamed of doing before ...

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The Eagle Has Landed in Augusta

Charlie Norwood VAMC “USO” themed game room and billiards room referred to and named by our Veterans as the “Eagles Nest” is their safe haven. The “Eagle’s Nest” offers a valuable opportunity for our Hospitalized Veterans to socialize with others in similar situations. So when they come into these areas specially created for them with funds from the BVL they see in their fellow Veterans someone who may be equally disabled in a different way, it is meaningful interaction. They can share commonality; they no longer are just looking at themselves. They get ...

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Smooth Strumming

  BVL is Brightening Veterans' Lives through the gift of music. A group of veterans at the New York Harbor Healthcare System are finding both spirt and solace by learning how to play the guitar.  Music therapy is a proven path to healing.  See how the days are brighter for a group Veterans thanks to a BVL grant. https://www.flickr.com/photos/144760790@N02/sets/72157673222194371

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