LAKEWOOD , Wash. , June 13, 2012 - One is blind. One lost his leg. Another suffers from post traumatic stress. The bond that brings them together is their selfless service to our nation - and the great game of golf. On Thursday, June 14, the American Lake Veterans Rehabilitation Center & Golf Course in Lakewood hosts the Phoenix Warrior Tournament, an event designed especially for the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB). This is the fourth year for the event, bringing together many of the WTB soldiers who are physically and/or emotionally injured and have discovered golf as an important- if not unexpected- component in the healing process. Nearly 100 WTB soldiers and support staff are expected to participate in the two session, 18-hole tournament. The first session starts at 8:30 a.m., the second at 1 p.m., with a luncheon and raffle in between.
The American Lake Veterans Rehabilitation Center & Golf Course, located on the grounds of the VA Hospital, is the only golf course of its kind in the country. Designed specifically for the rehabilitation of wounded and disabled veterans, it is used by thousands of veterans every year. In 2011, over 37,000 rounds of golf were played.
Through golf, many veterans have been able to overcome their wounds. The social interaction and development of motor skills helps develop self confidence and can assist in achieving a therapeutic mental health recovery.
"In a way, this place enables our soldiers to continue a new fight, the fight to overcome their disabilities," says Bruce McKenty, golf course manager.
The course truly plays an unique role in the healing process and, on any given day, is bustling with activity. VA hospital in-patients are able to utilize the course, for free, seven days a week; free clinics and golf are offered for physically disabled and blind golfers; Wounded Warriors can play golf for free every Monday and there is affordable golf for veterans and their guests. Designed to be ADA-compatible, the course also provides free mobilized golf carts for mobility impaired golfers, as well as a three-hole practice course for mobility impaired and blind rehab golfers.
The American Lake Veterans Rehabilitation Center & Golf Course operates without any government financial assistance or paid employees. A group of inspired volunteers- many retired military veterans- assist with all improvement, care and maintenance of the course.
The purpose of the Phoenix Warrior Tournament is to bring together today's veterans with golf course volunteer veterans to interact, bond and develop golfing skills and friendship.
To learn more about the golf course, please visit www.veterangolf.org
. For more information about the WTB, visit www.mamc.amedd.army.mil/WTB/AboutWTB.cfm