Hundreds of veterans from all across the country are in Biloxi, Miss., this week to participate in the 31st annual National Veterans Golden Age Games, or NVGAG. The games, which are designed for participants age 55 to 90, include Boccia ball, bowling, table tennis, badminton, billiards, track and field, golf and more.
According to the VA website, “The National Veterans Golden Age Games is the premier senior adaptive rehabilitation program in the United States, and the only national multi-event sports and recreational seniors’ competition program designed to improve the quality of life for all older Veterans, including those with a wide range of abilities and disabilities.”
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs says the games are a way to challenge veterans and encourage them to live a healthier lifestyle. In order to participate you must be 55 to 90 years old and currently receiving health care from the VA.
The event, which runs from May 7 – 11, draws hundreds of veteran participators and thousands of spectators over the course of the week. A complete schedule of events can be found here.
Starting last year, the event began inducting participants into the NVGAG Athlete Hall of Fame. Donald Starler was the first inductee. The VA says the Hall of Fame honors those “who have distinguished themselves and set an exemplary example while preparing for and during participation in the National Veterans Golden Age Games, by virtue of their performance as well as by meritorious efforts based on the following criteria: Sportsmanship, Dedication, Leadership and Active Healthy Lifestyle year-round.”
Husband and wife duo George (Army) and Roberta (Air Force) Hults, from Oceans Springs, Miss., are excited to compete in this year’s games.
“I’m looking forward to meeting other Veterans,” Roberta, age 74, told the VA’s Vantage blog. “You don’t meet very many women Veterans, and I’m looking forward to it.”
“I’m glad this is done for Veterans,” George, age 86, added. “The military was a big part of my life, it is something you can never forget.”
For more information on the games, visit https://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/gag/ or http://www.veteransgoldenagegames.va.gov/