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Pandemic doesn’t stop Houston area Veterans from competing

Houston VA Silver Eagles Team
Houston VA Silver Eagles Team practicing at a local bowling alley.

Throughout the pandemic, many of us have decreased our physical activity.

However, the pandemic didn’t keep Houston VA’s National Veteran Golden Age Games (NVGAG) Silver Eagles team from competing. The NVGAG is a national multi-event sports and recreational seniors’ competition program designed to improve the quality of life for all older Veterans. It promotes physical fitness and endurance for Veterans, including those with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. 

This year, the team members participated in an “At Home” competition that gave the Veterans an opportunity to show their athletic spirit from home. This competition inspired our athletes to stay active and honor the Games’ motto. 

“I really enjoyed the local bowling tournament,” said Army Veteran Joseph Robert. “After not being able to interact with my fellow Veterans, it was a pleasure to see them every week. This pandemic has taken so much away from us. This bowling tournament gave me a little part of my life back.”

The games are open to U.S. military Veterans ages 55 or older who are currently receiving care at a VA medical facility. Because of the pandemic, the games have not been able to be held in person for the last wo years. However, that has not stopped the team’s members from maintaining their “Fitness for Life” motto. 

“Recreational therapy allows me to know there is a place I can smile and relax in the midst of it all,” said Army Veteran Rena Dugat. “Opening up and feeling comfortable around others is not easy for me and I know the same is true for many of my Silver Eagles family. I'm grateful and thankful to have had the chance to share this time with our family and relax.”

Veterans enjoyed having the opportunity to gather and compete this year. Recreation Therapy staff worked closely with the participants to coach them. “We love being able to help our Veterans increase their physical activity, gather together for the camaraderie, and win some games,” said Rochelle Atwood Myles, Recreation Therapist and NVGAG Coach.

The Silver Eagles team members won the following:

2021 NVGAG competition:

     Angela Bowdry: 2nd place (Bowling)
     Cindy Connor: 3rd place (Air Rifle); 1st place (Trivia)
     Rena Dugat: 3rd place (Bowling)
     Randy Hall: 1st place (Discus); 2nd place (Shot); 1st place (Cycling); 3rd place (Powerwalk)
     Barbara Hawkins: 2nd place (Bowling)
     Tori Isner: 1st place (Bowling)
     Billy Lacy: 1st place (Bowling)
     Angela LaFond: 3rd place (Powerwalk)
     Jerry Williams: 2nd place (Bowling)

Local bowling competition: 

     Female Bowling Division
          Barbara Hawkins: 1st place
          Angela Bowdry: 2nd place
          Rena Dugat: 3rd place
          Tori Isner: 4th place
          Kara Leos: 5th place

     Male Bowling Division
          James Williams: 1st place
          Mack Thrash: 2nd place
          Billy Lacy: 3rd place
          J.W. Williams: 4th place
          Joseph Robert: 5th place
          Tyler Mitchell: 6th place
          Robert Lambus: 7th place
          Sergio Lavilla: 8th place
          Armando Gutierrez: 9th place
          Artis Bulliner: 10th place
          Hillery Williams, Jr.: 11th place
          Arthur Robinson: 12th place

     Wheelchair Bowling Division
          Jackie Hall: 1st place
          Norris Honeycutt: 2nd place

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