Veterans compete in 2020 Golden Age Games… at home

Virtual competition draws 259 senior Veterans


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The 2020 National Veteran Golden Age Games came to a close with the awards presentation announced on Facebook during a live broadcast.

69-year-old Army and Vietnam Veteran Henry Lee Preston represented Birmingham VA Medical Center.

A total of 259 Veterans registered to compete, including 81 women Veterans. The Veterans represented 36 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and 61 VA medical centers. Veterans received a total of 100 gold, 75 silver and 69 bronze medals across eight age categories

Veterans competed in gender, wheelchair, visually impaired and recumbent cycling categories.

VA’s Office of National Veterans Sports Programs and Special Events provides Veterans with opportunities for health and healing through adaptive sports and therapeutic art programs. These specialized rehabilitation events aim to optimize Veterans’ independence, community engagement, well-being and quality of life. The programs are built on clinical expertise within VA, with essential support from Veteran Service Organizations, corporate sponsors, individual donors and community partners.

Pictured above with her bicycle is OEF/OIF Veteran, Air Force Veteran and nurse Therese Kern. Kern represented the Milwaukee VA Medical Center. She is also a nurse practitioner at VA.

Here’s a great video about the games including the opening and a terrific slide show of previous participants from all the states. (Montage photos and videos are from 2019: pre-COVID, pre-masks.)

“I had the time of my life.”

Feedback from Veterans has been overwhelmingly positive and many expressed their gratitude. Here are some comments:

“Though we were all at home in 2020, I can truly say I had the time of my life and enjoyed every day of the fitness challenge and 20k cycling event. I would love to be able to participate in 2021 alongside all the other cyclists in the 20k cycling event,” said David Warren. He was a first-time participant who represented the Phoenix VA Health Care System.

90-year-old Korean War and Army Veteran Dale Hosler representing the VA Central California Health Care System (Team Fresno). Dale joined the Army in 1947 and served as a field artillery Soldier with X Corps.

“Thanks to the national staff for finding a way to allow us to compete this year. Can’t wait to see my medals in person, and to get my T-shirt. Congrats to all the athletes that medaled and to those who competed! I had a blast. On top of getting in better shape after having to walk or ride bike every day for 30 days!! I also lost some weight,” said Coast Guard Veteran Nadine Lewis. She represented the Oklahoma City VA Health Care System.

“I wanted to say thanks for putting the at-home competition together and for giving us an opportunity to compete in the virtual challenge,” said Lenny McNair. He is an Army Veteran who represented the VA Maryland Health Care System.

Competition and reflection

Korean War and Army Veteran Phillip Joseph Dimenno, 88, served as a rifleman with the 24th Infantry Division, 34th Regiment. Joseph represented the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. He took gold in the powerwalk and wastebasket basketball and silver in javelin, discus and shot put.

Here’s a video interview of Joseph from several years ago as he returned to Korea.

https://www.cnn.com/2013/07/27/world/asia/south-korea-us-vets/index.html

Author

Mike Molina

Mike Molina is a public affairs specialist with VA’s Office of National Veterans Sports Programs and Special Events. He has been a federal public affairs practitioner for more than 20 years, including serving as public affairs officer at the Jesse Brown VA in Chicago and the Montana VA Health Care System in Helena, Montana. Mike is a Marine Corps Veteran and was an amateur boxer on the All-Marine Boxing Team while stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Comments

  1. Ron Culbreth    

    I would like information on the upcoming 2021 games.

  2. Jodi Harbroe    

    Are you kidding? Let’s see if this works. I have tried everything for 5 years to connect with the VA online and so far its just one huge waste of my time. I cannot register with the VA website. I can no longer see my PCP (although I think this is down to her as I do not believe she wants me as a patient. I have written to Trump multiple times and he did reply the first time and has stonewalled me ever since, I have written to Robert Wilkie and he stonewalls me, I have written to Dr. Robinson at the Denver VA multiple times and he has stonewalled me. I am on Choice First as I live 83 miles from the Denver VA. Over the years the VA has repeatedly changed the name of this program and they makeup excuses for refusing to pay my doctors. Each time they change the name of this program they makeup lies why they refuse to pay my bills and tell me doctors they will pay. Now none of the doctors north of Denver will see vets at all because the VA refuses to pay them. I have made multiple trips to the Denver VA with the heaps of bills I have that the Denver VA refuses to pay. I have met with multiple people at the Denver VA and wasted dozens of hours of my time sitting while endless liars make phone calls pretending to talk to (nobody) and handing me back my stacks of unpaid bills with false promises they will be paid. I have bills that are years old that are now also sitting on my credit report because the Denver VA refuses to pay them. I have sent these bills to Trump and Wilkie and Robinson and it has cost me a fortune in gas driving to the Denver VA only to be lied to over and over and over again. I have been ordered to the Denver VA for various tests and Travel Pay has totally and completely blocked me from travel pay payments. I have written to Trump and Wilkie and Dr. Robinson about this too and last year I found the address to a VA office I Janesville, Minnesota about this and they too have stonewalled me. My outside neurosurgeon has requested tests and my PCP refuses to order them for followup treatment and I am being stonewalled by my PCP as well. This is a nightmare.

  3. JERRY SHEPHERD    

    I have marked my calendar for your 2021 competitions in WI I can gather up some of my fellow retired veterans from the BUCKEYE STATE (OHIO} I just passed my 65 birthday in May 2020 but I feel like a 21 year old as I get out with my beautiful wife of 28 years of marriage and walk at our local park path that was made in 2019 around our big lake at the park and we watch our diet to stay healthy and I like compete in competitions to show the younger generation that being old doesn’t mean we can’t compete in physical challenges.

  4. Arlene Rodriguez    

    My husband would have loved this too. When & other details for next year’s games would be appreciated. We used to do our state’s Sr. Games but haven’t heard anything about those lately either.. Info will be greatly appreciated.

  5. Frank Paul Curto    

    I too thought it was closed and I to would like to be a part of the games now I am unsure of the regestsion for 2022 I hope thiers some why and time to do regestsion that’s a good idea for us USV

  6. SAnthony J. Simpson    

    I sure wish I knew about this…I wanted very much to compete this year but I assumed it was cancelled. I’ve been practicing the swimming events for a number of years, wanted to go to Anchorage but the fare was way too expensive….we could have filmed the swimming events at local pools or even at some VA facilities that have pools….Sin Loi

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