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New Mexico VA Health Care System
Volunteers, Sponsors Wanted for 2018 National Vete
By Bill Armstrong
Tuesday, January 31, 2017Say goodbye to the Olympics in Rio, and hello to the National Veterans Golden Age Games in Albuquerque.
Volunteers are needed to help put on the 32nd annual National Veterans Golden Age Games (NVGAG) that will happen Aug. 4-8, 2018 in Albuquerque. The games are organized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and in 2018 will get local help from staff of the New Mexico VA Health Care System (NMVAHCS).
The National Veterans Golden Age Games is the only national multi-event sports and recreational seniors’ competition program designed to improve the quality of life for older veterans, including those with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. The event is open to veterans 55 and older, who receive VA healthcare.
Competition events include air rifle, badminton (singles and doubles), boccia (singles and doubles), bowling, cycling, field (discus, javelin, shot put), golf, horseshoes, nine ball, power walk, shuffleboard, swimming, table tennis and track. About 800 veterans are expected to participate in the three divisions of ambulatory, visually impaired and wheelchair.
The NMVAHCS will work with several community partners in order to make the Games a success.
“This is really about Veterans having a good quality of life, a longer life, a healthier life – taking recreation and sports and allowing them to live a longer life,” said Jerhald A. Burgoa, Chair of the 2018 National Veterans Golden Age Games.
Burgoa, a U.S. Army veteran, is already working closely with his assistant, U.S. Air Force veteran Mike Daugherty, to build a database of sponsors and volunteers for the massive event. Approximately 3,000 local volunteers are now needed to sign up to make the 2018 National Veterans Golden Age Games success.
“This is a community effort that honors Veterans. What’s going to make this happen is the support of the community. We’ll need volunteers for transportation, receiving veterans at the airport, just getting them where they need to be,” Burgoa said. “The big piece will be the athletics events in itself. Judges, timers, people logging in folks, things of that nature. The logistic trail is pretty big – you have a lot of people to keep track of. It will take a substantial amount of manpower to get water and food out.”
Since 2004, the Games have served as a qualifying event for competition in the National Senior Games (www.nsga.com) in a number of competitive events, and the City of Albuquerque will host the National Senior Games in 2019.
Those wanting more information on participating can contact the NVGAG Albuquerque office at (505) 248-3214. For more information about the games, visit http://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/gag/index.asp.