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28th National Veterans Wheelchair Games

Games Provide Therapy, Fun for Disabled Vets

William Kafka, a disabled veteran from El Paso, Texas, prepares to take a shot during nine-ball pool at the 28th National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Omaha, Neb. Department of Veterans Affairs photo  OMAHA, Neb., July 29, 2008 – About 500 disabled veterans, including recently wounded warriors from Iraq and Afghanistan, are entering their final day of competition here at the 28th National Veterans Wheelchair Games. Story

Tyler Wilson, a disabled veteran from Thornton, Colo., takes aim during the archery competition at the 28th National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Omaha, Neb. Department of Veterans Affairs photo  Terrall Ramirez, a disabled veteran from Moss Point, Miss., competes in a softball tournament during the 28th National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Omaha, Neb. Department of Veterans Affairs photo  David Randall, a disabled veteran from Mansfield, Ohio, contemplates his next move during a basketball competition at the 28th National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Omaha, Neb. Department of Veterans Affairs photo

Older Vets Set Example for Newly Wounded

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Anthony Felder, who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident after returning from a Middle East deployment, said he finds inspiration among disabled veterans participating in the 28th National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Omaha, Neb. Defense Dept. photo by Donna MilesOMAHA, Neb., July 29, 2008 – Recently wounded combat troops are here getting advice and encouragement from those who understand best what they’re up against: other disabled veterans who have learned to live with their disabilities.

Veterans of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, including five current patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, are among about 500 participants in the 28th National Veterans Wheelchair Games. Story

Darrell Lawrence, a former Army specialist injured in a motorcycle accident at Fort Campbell, Ky., just five months after a deployment to Iraq, sports one of two gold medals he’s won at the 28th National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Omaha, Neb. Defense Dept. photo by Donna Miles Mitch Bocik, an Army reservist wounded when an improvised explosive device hit his vehicle just south of Baghdad in May 2006, said the National Veterans Wheelchair Games offer a chance to recapture his love of competition. He poses with his father, Gerry, who accompanied him to Omaha, Neb., for the
games. Defense Dept. photo by Donna Miles

Troops Give Back to Disabled Vets

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Phil Stacey, better known as an “American Idol” finalist during season six, sings the “Star-Spangled Banner” at the opening of the slalom obstacle course competition at the 28th National Disabled Veterans Wheelchair Games. Defense Dept. photo by Donna MilesOMAHA, Neb., July 30, 2008 – As disabled veterans tested their limits during the National Disabled Veterans Wheelchair Games, nearly 400 military volunteers provided the behind-the-scenes support that officials said made the games a success. Story

Air Force Airmen 1st Class Stephanie and Tim Patenaude, a dual-service couple from Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., volunteered throughout the National Veterans Wheelchair Games. Defense Dept. photo by Donna Miles  Air Force Maj. Joyce Tow, a nurse with the Nebraska Air National Guard’s 155th Air Refueling Wing, said volunteering at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games was gratifying because she got to see how the veterans she and her fellow medical professionals treat go on to live full lives. Defense Dept.
photo by Donna Miles  Air Force Airman 1st Class Vicki Pelan, left, and Senior Master Sgt. Steve Goodner, both members of the Nebraska Air National Guard’s 155th Air Refueling Wing, chat with Army veteran Wayne Muscato during the National Disabled Veterans Wheelchair Games. Defense Dept. photo by Donna Miles

Project Captures Newer as Well as Older Veterans’ Stories

Steve Hollingshead, an audiovisual specialist for the Department of Veterans Affairs, puts a microphone on retired Army Lt. Col. Jim Howe, before conducting an interview for the Veterans History Project. Defense Dept. photo by Donna MilesOMAHA, Neb., July 30, 2008 – As competitors were hurrying from one competition to the next at the 28th National Disabled Veterans Wheelchair Games, some paused between venues to commit to history their accounts of their military service and the impact it’s had on their lives.

Tucked quietly away from the brightly lit competitions, Steve Hollingshead from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Media Services Division was busy building the Veterans History Project. Story

Vets Wrap Up Wheelchair Games With Inspiration, Life Lessons

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Anthony Felder, participating in his second National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Omaha, Neb., said he was thrilled when his team won the coveted gold medal in basketball, but he gained even more sharing stories and experiences with fellow participants. Felder lost his left leg in a 2006 motorcycle accident but has received approval to remain on active duty as an F-15 crew chief. Defense Dept. photo by Donna MilesOMAHA, Neb., July 30, 2008 – Nearly 500 disabled veterans closed the 28th National Veterans Wheelchair Games here, celebrating new friendships made, new pride in what they’ve accomplished, and confidence in their abilities.

Deputy Veterans Affairs Secretary Gordon H. Mansfield praised participants in the world’s largest annual wheelchair sports competition during the closing ceremonies and urged them to take home the lessons learned here.  Story

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