Volunteers Needed to Help with Veterans’ Wheelchair Games

Mark, a veteran injured in a helicopter accident, is excited after water skiing his first time. He was back on the water for a second trip within 15 minutes. Credit: Bobbie O'Brien

During an October demonstration event of adaptive sports, a veteran injured in a helicopter accident is excited to again feel the thrill of speed after taking his water skiing opportunity. He was back on the water for a second trip within 15 minutes. Credit: Bobbie O’Brien

Whether it’s passing out lunches or setting up equipment at one of the 18 different venues, if you want to help a veteran, this is your chance.

In just a few weeks, Tampa will host more than 500 veterans in town to compete in the 33rd National Veterans Wheelchair Games.

And 3,000 volunteers are needed to assest at the venues,  monitor buses and to cheer on the athletes as “Fans in the Stands.”

“We’re still desperately looking for volunteers in the community,” said Cathy Williams, head of James A. Haley recreational therapy. “We need a minimum of four hours and you’ll get lunch and T-shirts and to know you gave back to the community and to the veteran.”

The Games are scheduled July 13 to 18 and held at several venues in the Tampa Bay area: the Tampa Convention Center, Tampa Bay Times Forum, Raymond James Stadium, Lake Seminole Park, Hillsborough Community College (Dale Mabry campus), Silver Dollar Shooters Club, Pin Chasers, Jefferson High School and the Clearwater Long Center.

Volunteers can be as young as 14 and are asked to sign up for a minimum of four hours. But they can give a day or spend the whole week with the wheelchair athletes.

Volunteer applications are  available at www.wheelchairgames.va.gov. The application can be returned via e-mail to Wheelchair.games@va.gov or dropped off in person at the Voluntary Service Office, Room 2A-215L, James A. Haley Veterans Hospital, 13000 Bruce B. Downs, Blvd., in Tampa.

For more information, contact Camilla Thompson, Tampa Volunteer Coordinator at Wheelchair.games@va.gov or call (813)-972-2000, ext. 6580.  The deadline for volunteer registration is June 15.


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