POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jun 6, 2011
Last week more than 800 veterans from across the mainland, Hawaii, Guam, Samoa and other islands came to Honolulu to participate in the Department of Veterans Affairs' Golden Age Games.
One of them was 100 years old, and nearly all of them served in combat from World War II through our current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Swimming, air rifle, horseshoes, billiards, bike riding, golf, bowling and many more activities allowed our veterans to show their competitive spirits and see — and taste — much of what is so special about Honolulu.
I tell you this because the event would have been impossible had it not been for the 1,125 volunteers who came to help. Volunteers of all ages, including active duty and retired military, their families, local service and civic groups, corporate employees and many college, high school, youth groups — and just regular folks — all joined VA staff to help veterans pursue their quest for gold medals. In fact, at any given time, there were more than 200 volunteers at work timing swim events, measuring discus throws, and helping veterans from their wheelchairs into outrigger canoes.
As a veteran and a local girl, I have never been prouder of Hawaii and I trust your enthusiasm and support for America's veterans will continue through the year. There are so many ways to support our veterans, and Rick Velasquez at the VA Pacific Island Health Care System (433-0357) can give you information about upcoming opportunities.
The aloha spirit that enveloped these games will not be forgotten, and I would like to offer my most heartfelt mahalo nui loa to everyone involved in both the planning and the execution of this wonderful event.