Painting Change at the VA

“Art therapy is no different from working out at the gym. It is an awesome outlet to resolve your issues," according to U.S. Army Airborne Infantry Veteran Anthony Jones. "In 2015 I decided I needed to change, I dedicated myself to the health care and programs offered at the VA." Jones said. BVL is proud to be a sponsor of the annual VA Creative Arts Festival (CAF), helping bring this opportunity to veterans nationwide. Jones participated in the Martinsburg, (WV) VAMC CAF, receiving first place in Fine Arts and Mixed Media. The festival provided him a showcase for his ...

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Driving Forward

Brazos Area (TX) USBC BVL supporters teamed up with the local Disabled American Veterans Chapter and other community members to ensure veterans have access to their healthcare needs at the Temple VA Medical Center.  Together, the group raised enough money to purchase a full sized 10 person van to vets to their appointments. Bravo to Brazos for putting ‘it in gear’ and making veterans days better and brighter.

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“Re-Creation” – Delivering Medicine not Dispensed in a Bottle

It often starts out differently; sometimes it begins with the tapping of the foot, swaying back and forth, or a twinkle in the eye…  But we always know how it ends… clapping, standing, if possible, and full throated song. And it happens at more than 100 VA Medical Centers and Veterans Homes throughout the country every year.  This special brand of medicine is delivered through the voices and hearts and hands and talents of the touring entertainment troupe “Re-Creation” thanks to BVL supporters. Each day the performers arrive at a hospital or home they walk ...

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Plano Veteran Receives Special All-Terrain Wheelchair

Plano, Texas native and Vietnam Veteran Mike Smith’s world got much bigger and brighter this week thanks to BVL and the efforts led by area bowling center proprietor Jamie Brooks. Mike has been confined to a wheelchair after having been diagnosed with several of the signs of Agent Orange including diabetes and congestive heart failure, as well as having both knees replaced due to damage suffered while in Vietnam.   Through a special BVL fundraising effort, Jamie presented Mike with an automated all-terrain wheelchair allowing him access to beaches, hills and ...

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Games Bringing Veterans to Biloxi

Retired Marine Corps Sergeant Major Doris Denton (1961-1981 including a tour in Vietnam) will be one of nearly 800 Veterans participating in the National Veterans Golden Age Games, May 7 – 11 in Biloxi, Miss.  BVL is one of the sponsors of the event. When Denton first heard about the National Veterans Golden Age Games she jumped at the opportunity to participate.  “A speaker from the Biloxi VA came to the Armed Forces Retirement Home, and told us about the Games,” she said. “I thought, why not?” She will compete in bocce, shuffleboard, horseshoes, and ...

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Brightening Veterans’ Lives: One Veteran at a Time

A newcomer to the recent Winter Sports Clinic, sponsored in part by BVL, Army veteran William Márquez, credits “a cast of thousands” that got him there. You see, Márquez did not use the VA when he left the Army. In fact, after his discharge he did not even identify as a Veteran. He did not think the VA was for him. It took another Veteran recommending that he use the VA before he finally came around. His friend continued encouraging him to sign up for care and, eventually, things changed. The VA staff stayed in touch with Márquez and kept recommending ...

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Biking into the Future

Biking into the Future
As he slips into the seat of his new custom-made cycle near the starting line, without pedaling one foot of the El Tour de Tucson bike race,  Miguel has already gone a long way.   In fact, riding with a bunch of his buddies from the El Paso VA, Miguel, and their recreation therapist, Corinne, have already gone a long way together. “Training for, planning for, and participating in this race has truly created a life-changing impact on these veterans,” explains Corinne.  “Cycling has given this group the framework to build a healthy lifestyle for both mind and ...

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Get On Up

With more than two decades of boots-on-the-ground operational experience as a naval medical officer Navy Capt. Robert Koffman, M.D. says there’s no secret to the key to reduced stress and anxiety, increased brain health, and improved sleep patterns: EXERCISE. Whether that physical activity takes place as part of a team, as an individual in a gym, or out on the hiking trail (with the added therapeutic benefit of nature), veterans can reap big rewards with as little as thirty minutes of exercise a day three days a week. The upshot of those 90 minutes? A boost in: norepin...

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Nurtured By Nature

Break out the salsa bowls! This spring and beyond, residents at the Fresno Veterans Home will be taking full advantage of the California sunshine thanks to a variety of new outdoors-based programs funded by BVL… Two potting benches will provide the base for a gardening effort where veterans will be planting tomatoes and peppers in elevated gardening beds at the facility (supplies will be kept in the two new storage sheds BVL purchased). After a morning of gardening, veterans can enjoy the sun by peddling around on the new adult three-wheel bikes (complete with safety ...

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One fish, two fish, calm fish, soothe fish…

Thanks to a grant from the Monmouth County USBC, veterans at the New Jersey State Veterans Home in Menlo Park are experiencing reduced levels of stress and anxiety as they enjoy the palliative effects of watching the fish in their two new giant aquariums purchased thanks to the $9,000 raised by the MCUSBC for BVL. Menlo Park Recreation Director Marsha Lasko noted, “The aquariums provide a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere for the veterans at the home. Residents who are exposed to the beauty of the fish tanks appear to be more relaxed and alert. As we’ve seen in so many ...

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