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Veterans Games meant a lot to each participant

We hear an awful lot about the things that go wrong at our Department of Veterans Affairs. However, the 2013 National Veterans Golden Age Games was too much of a success for anyone to find fault with. As the local meet codirector, I was involved with many of this year’s inner workings. I am very proud to have been a part of the 2013 host team.

The games held here in Western New York almost didn’t happen. Buffalo was given half of the budget that has been awarded to cities in past years. Then in the midst of registering more participants than any other of the past 26 Golden Age Games, Washington told us that the games were postponed. We could not sign contracts and as a result lost many of the hotel rooms, volunteers, donations, venues, event leads, etc.

Weeks later, after so much had been lost, including the enthusiasm of many who had given so much, we were informed that the games were reinstated. At that point it was a mad scramble to recover whatever we could to make the games move forward. Veterans, family members, staff, volunteers and many others look forward to each year’s games. The therapeutic value is such that they strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle just to compete and also to see old friends.

So there you have it, a story with a happy ending, told without so many of the details. The important thing is, we did it. Thanks so much to all of those who were a part of this success.

Please remember that there are many who work hard each day in order to serve our vets. Sadly, their achievements often go unnoticed.

Ralph Sirianni

Town of Tonawanda