“No cooking…I was in heaven!”
Ladies of the 2011 Games
Last year, 89 women Veterans competed in the Golden Age Games. Their service in earlier days has made the choice of a military career easier for women today.
The most senior female Veteran at the games was Rose Plastik. She served in the Women’s Army Corps from 1943–45. Participating in her third Golden Age Games, Rose said, “This is my life now. The first time I came to the Games I didn’t have to cook, clean or shop. I thought I was in heaven. I meet so many nice people and I enjoy all the friends I make at the Games.”
Pamela Brule served in the Army from 1968–72. Her trip to Hawaii for the games in 2011 was extra special for her. She was stationed there 40 years ago at Fort Shafter. She said, “The base is still there as a historical site. I was married at the church and although it has been torn down, the steeple is still there. The memories began to flood back when I went there.” Brule believes, “Just being at the Games and being a good sportsman is just as good as a medal…almost.”
Patricia Sampley was in the Air Force from 1975-98, including Desert Storm. Regarding her third Golden Age Games, she said, “It really has encouraged me to stay fit. I enjoy being around my fellow Veterans and it helps me to stay connected to a part of my past. The Games soothe me and let me know that people care about us as Veterans. I was afraid of water and I overcame that fear to compete in swimming at the Games.”
The National Veterans Golden Age Games
Last year at the National Veterans Golden Age Games, Jack Faust met a fellow competitor who was 98 and thought he was the oldest Veteran there.
Jack, 100 at the time, had to tell him he was two years short.
This year, more than 900 Veterans will travel to St. Louis, Mo. to compete in the 26th National Veterans Golden Age Games.
Jack Faust was born in 1911. Last year at the games, he won two gold medals and said: “To the youngsters competing, I say: better get practicing for St. Louis, because I intend to see you there.”
The Games are a national sports and recreation competition sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV), and Veterans Canteen Service (VCS).
Through this rehabilitative athletic event, VA strives to introduce older Veterans to the benefits of sports and recreation. These athletes will showcase their skills, mental toughness and physical fitness at the games.
Celebrating its 26th year, the games offer the largest sports and recreation competition in the world for military Veterans age 55 and older.
“To the youngsters…I say get practicing for St. Louis…I intend to see you there.”
Hosted this year by the St. Louis VA Medical Center, the competition features sports such as swimming, cycling, golf, bowling, table tennis and others, totaling 14 competitive events.
Events are open to all U.S. military Veterans age 55 or older who are currently receiving care at any VA medical facility.
The Games have grown from 115 participants its first year to more than 700 in 2011.
It is designed to improve the quality of life for all older Veterans, including those with a wide range of abilities and disabilities.
The National Golden Age Games is one of the most progressive and adaptive rehabilitative senior sports programs in the world and is made possible by the support provided by co-sponsors VCS and HHV.
The Golden Age Games is truly a life saving program for our nation’s Veterans and life affirming for all those who have attended them.
Competitive events run from June 1-5, 2012.
The National Veterans Golden Age Games serve as a qualifying event for the National Senior Olympics. The National Senior Olympics is a community-based member of the United States Olympic Committee and recognizes the best senior athletes in their respective age groups in the United States.
For more information about the National Veterans Golden Age Games and other VA national rehabilitation programs, visit www.veteransgoldenagegames.va.gov.