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2012 National Veterans Golden Age Games: Special Event

Article from the Star-Advertiser: “Games lift isle economy and veterans’ spirits” by William Cole
[Posted: May 24th, 2011] Before The Games

The National Veterans Golden Age Games are coming to Hawaii this week for the first time in 25 years, drawing more than 900 competitors and scoring big points with the island's economy. A record 933 participants were signed up as of Monday for the games, a Veterans Affairs official said.

The VA games run Thursday through Tuesday and include swimming, cycling, golf, shot put, discus, 10-meter air rifle, table tennis, dominoes, shuffleboard, horseshoes, nine-ball pool, bowling, checkers and croquet for veterans 55 and older.

A news release from the Hawai‘i Convention Center said participants and family members add up to more than 1,400 individuals, translating into more than $6.6 million in anticipated state revenue.

Hotels will benefit from more than 11,200 room nights with events being held at the convention center, Waikiki Beach, the University of Hawaii and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, among other locations.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye said he is pleased for other reasons that Honolulu is hosting the games.

"They are an important part of ensuring that our aging veterans are taking care of their physical health so that they can continue to serve as examples of bravery and perseverance for our younger generations," Inouye said in a release.

Inouye, a Medal of Honor recipient who lost his arm in War II, said sporting events helped him with his injuries.

"As I recovered from my war wounds at the VA hospital in Battle Creek, Mich., physical activity and athletic competition were vital to restoring my sense of self and preparing me for life after the Army," he said.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, a Kauai native and former chief of staff of the Army, will deliver an address during the opening ceremony for the games at 7 p.m. Thursday at Fort DeRussy's Kuroda Field.

The VA said the Golden Age Games are the premier senior rehabilitation program in the United States, and it is the only national multievent sports and recreational competition program that is designed to improve the quality of life for veterans 55 and older, including those with a range of abilities and disabilities.

Tammy Duckworth, VA assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental affairs and a McKinley High School and University of Hawaii graduate, said she was looking "forward to showing our nation's heroes the aloha state."

Veterans age 55 or older who receive health care at any VA medical facility are eligible to compete in the National Veterans Golden Age Games.

Article from the Star-Advertiser: “Golden Age Games was testament to state's aloha spirit” by Tammy Duckworth
[Posted: June 6th, 2011] After the Games

Last week more than 800 veterans from across the mainland, Hawaii, Guam, Samoa and other islands came to Honolulu to participate in the Department of Veterans Affairs' Golden Age Games.

One of them was 100 years old, and nearly all of them served in combat from World War II through our current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Swimming, air rifle, horseshoes, billiards, bike riding, golf, bowling and many more activities allowed our veterans to show their competitive spirits and see — and taste — much of what is so special about Honolulu. I tell you this because the event would have been impossible had it not been for the 1,125 volunteers who came to help. Volunteers of all ages, including active duty and retired military, their families, local service and civic groups, corporate employees and many college, high school, youth groups — and just regular folks — all joined VA staff to help veterans pursue their quest for gold medals. In fact, at any given time, there were more than 200 volunteers at work timing swim events, measuring discus throws, and helping veterans from their wheelchairs into outrigger canoes.

As a veteran and a local girl, I have never been prouder of Hawaii and I trust your enthusiasm and support for America's veterans will continue through the year.

The aloha spirit that enveloped these games will not be forgotten, and I would like to offer my most heartfelt mahalo nui loa to everyone involved in both the planning and the execution of this wonderful event.

More Information About the Games Direct From the VA: