The dorms at the University of Arkansas are filled this week, not with students, but with hundreds of military veterans. More than 700 veterans from across the country are in Fayetteville this week to take part in the 2014 Golden Age Games.
In some ways, it’s the Olympics for veterans.
Bowling, horseshoes, checkers, and dominoes are just a small handful of events taking place at the 2014 Golden Age Games.
“It’s kind of like a mini vacation, just to get out and be among the other fellow veterans,” said Edward Dick, a veteran from Reno, Nevada.
Disabled veterans travel long and far to compete for gold, and to meet their fellow veterans.
“An event like this, it will help a lot of people with getting together, meeting more friends, meeting more veterans with the same condition, the same problems we have,” said Carlos Manuel Colon Baez, a veteran from Miami, Florida.
Veterans at the games say this event is about much more than winning, it’s about being active and socializing with others from around the country.
“It helps me get out of the house, where I don’t isolate” Dick said.
“It helps me lose weight, it helped me fix my cholesterol, my triglycerides, my blood pressure, everything is going down,” Colon Baez said.
The event is run by volunteers, who say the Golden Age Games have many benefits for the veterans.
“It’s important because it offer our veterans an opportunity to come out to a competitive event to help with rehabilitation,” said Josh Gueffey, a volunteer from Fayetteville.
And, for all these men and women have done for our country, the 1,300 volunteer positions at the games are filled with people who say they want to give back to those who have given so much.
“We are honored to get to host these events,” Gueffey said.
Athletes at the Golden Age Games are all 55 years-old and older, and compete in by age group.
They are all associated with their local Veteran’s Affairs offices