Six Annual Veterans Special Events Engage and Encourage Veterans Nationwide
BVL Volunteer Sandra Eckert (Ft. Collins, CO) has seen for herself BVL dollars at work and she has a wish.
“I wish all the BVL contributors could see what an impact BVL programs have on our veterans,” Sandy explains. “Because BVL is so
much more than a hospital grant for a TV or trip to a ball game. Through BVL’s funding of the National Veterans events, we help provide a whole new outlook on life; giving vets an opportunity to get involved in sports or the arts. This gives them a new direction, and the skills to work toward new goals.”
While attending the National Veterans Wheelchair Games and the Winter Sports Clinic, Sandy has encountered athletes from every state in the nation. She’s met wheelchair bowlers who come to compete on the national level that have every ounce of passion for the sport that the professional bowlers do. She has watched young men just home from Iraq who have learned to ski using only one leg. “The Games give the veterans an opportunity to overcome their challenges and compete in an activity they never again thought possible,” adds Sandy.
“When our local association works with BVL National, we know that, together, we can make a positive impact on the lives of these brave vets,” says Sandy. “It’s not something we can achieve individually as an association, but together as a team with National BVL – we can make a big difference.”
BVL supports six different special events, two of which were new last year. Many of the competitions rotate around the United States, providing a new venue and a new opportunity for BVL volunteerism.
Connie Rommel, along with a contingent of representatives from the Iowa State USBC WBA, attended one of the new offerings: The TEE (Training Exposure Experience) Tournament. Here’s what Connie had to say, “This is so worth the money BVL donated to sponsor this event! I know I would love to attend next year. To see these visually-impaired veterans up and bowling — enjoying the sport I love, I’m hooked…I’ll be there!”
Linda Childress and Debbie Kent of the Central Arkansas USBC WBA attended the Creative Arts Festival which was held recently in Fayetteville, Ark. There, they came across veterans from all 50 states competing in the five categories of art, drama, dance, music, and creative writing. The Festival helps veterans develop skills and talents, recognizing the healing power of the arts. Veterans enter local competitions in the performing and visual arts divisions at VA health care facilities and the first-place entries from the local sites advance to the national level of competition.
Another new event is the Summer Sports Clinic. Coordinator Sandy Trombetta explained that by incorporating an active lifestyle early in the care of wounded veterans, they will stay healthier as they age and, thus, require less hospitalization, creating a win-win situation for the veteran and the system. Representatives from the San Diego USBC as well as the California State USBC were on
hand in San Diego for the SSC and were truly impressed by the way the clinic was managed. “The Summer Sports Clinic was about the vet as well as the care-takers,” says California BVL Chair Rosie Parker. “If we can get care-takers engaged in an active and supportive role for the veteran with disabilities, the better chance the vet will be successful in their endeavors – whatever they are. It’s a great concept.”
Donate to BVL today to help us continue our support of these events.