New Mexico VA Health Care System
NVGAG Coming to N.M. in 2018
Something wonderful is coming to New Mexico next August, and it will benefit older Veterans in many ways. Studies show that Veterans enjoy better health and a higher quality of life when participating in recreational therapy programs, such as the National Veterans Golden Age Games (NVGAG). This event has been held from state to state for more than three decades, but the 2018 NVGAG will be held in Albuquerque for the first time ever.
Having the “Games of Enchantment” held in New Mexico will showcase our great state, our wealth of cultural diversity, and our love of Veterans. More than 800 Veteran athletes from across the United States are expected to participate. Among those athletes will be 76-year-old Julianne Paulus King, an Albuquerque resident and Women’s Army Corps Veteran seen in the photo as she trains for the boccia ball competition.
In order to be eligible for participation, Veterans must be 55 years and older, and enrolled in the VA Health Care System. Competition is broken down into age-based categories, and in the following three divisions: ambulatory, visually impaired, and wheelchair. The Games offer something for every athlete. Competition events include air rifle, badminton, boccia, bowling, cycling, field (discus, javelin, shot put), golf, horseshoes, nine ball, power walk, shuffleboard, swimming, table tennis and track.
Sporting venues include the Albuquerque Convention Center and several other locations around the city. We hope to partner with the city, state, military, Veteran Service Organizations, profit, and non-profit organizations throughout New Mexico. There are three main areas of emphasis for making this event a huge success for our Veteran athletes. First, we will need 2,500 volunteers to provide crucial support during the events. We also need to recruit eligible athletes and allow them adequate time to prepare for competition. Finally, our goal is to raise $250,000 in monetary and in-kind donations and sponsorships. To find out how you can get involved in this New Mexico event that will honor our Veterans, please contact Jery Burgoa by email at Jerhald.Burgoa@va.gov, or call him at (505) 248-3214. You also can contact Mike Daugherty by email at Michael.Daugherty2@va.gov or call him at (505) 222-7650.