Each year, more than 700 athletes from all over the United States and its territories take part in 20 events arranged by the VA as part of the National Veterans Wheelchair Games. This year, for the first time, the Games were held in Louisville!
Lee Handel, Trinity Class of 2000, was a major part of hosting one of those 20 games, the golf competition. “We worked with the Louisville Sports Commission, Quail Chase Golf Course and many others to help coordinate the event. I volunteered for the event through VA in my role as Program Manager for the Ambulatory Care section of the VA. I oversaw hosting the event and handling the logistics of getting the players to the site from their hotels and the Convention Center downtown, as well as making sure all the medical attention, hydration, and other needs were being met.”
On top of Handel’s role as host, he had another, even more important, role. He wanted to make sure that everybody was having fun! “Many of these veterans hadn’t played golf since their accidents, or ever. It was an absolute blast getting to see them enjoy the game I love very much. This was, without question, the best moment I’ve had in my 15 years working at VA!”
More than just a volunteer, helping at this event was an honor for Handel.
I have a lot of friends and family members who are veterans, including my dad (Trinity Class of 1963), so it is extremely rewarding to get to help those who have put their lives on the line for us to be able to be free. When you come to an event like NVWG and see, up close, these courageous men and women coming together to overcome obstacles in their paths, you get a tremendous sense of pride and honor. These veterans wait an entire year for the opportunity to come and compete in the Games, and it’s our job to provide for them.
Handel hopes that by volunteering at these games that he can also act as a spokesperson for those veterans searching for ways to access the VA. “There are many avenues to gaining access to VA and we provide more services now than ever before. With the Mission Act now implemented, our eligible veterans have a choice on where to go for their care based on the time it takes to get an appointment or how far away, they might live. They can go to www.va.gov and see all the information. They can also call (502) 287-6201 to reach our Admissions and Eligibility Office, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get them the answers they need!”
Trinity is so thankful for all the men and women who have bravely defended our freedom.
Keep up the GreaT work, Lee!