Buffalo, NY - Buffalo is playing host this weekend through Tuesday to a unique group of senior athletes. They are veterans with a keen sense of competition despite their older age and they don't give up.
From an intense game of dominos with very focused players....
to a pool full of swimmers trying to beat the clock and competitors, the 27th Annual National Veterans Golden Games brought more than 700 veterans, age 55 and older receiving VA Medical care, to Buffalo with 14 events
As local host coordinator Pam Kaznowksi puts it "First of all it's rehabilitation. It's also camaraderie. The veterans are together. Some veterans come back every year to greet one another, and to enjoy their company, talk about different things. And it's a time when they are exercising throughout the year so that they're staying fit to compete."
You can put 73 year "young" Barry Mowen of Dayton, Ohio in that category. He is a Vietnam Veteran who is now an amputee but he still enjoys swimming and seeing his buddies at the Games. Mowen says "You go to the Golden Age games and you meet guys. And then when you come back the next year, if you don't see 'em you worry. And I end up calling all the VA's to find out where everybody is. I worry about that."
Barry is determined to compete in the backstroke. He got a bit tired in Sunday's event but the crowd helped power him to finish after all with plenty of cheering and applause. As Kaznowski says "Up in the stands we have spectators who are cheering 'em on. They don't know the veterans in the pool . So we have spectators that come out to all the events and cheer 'em on."
That show of support touched Mowen "Put a tear in my eye. When I was a kid I was a lifeguard at Coney Island. And here I am 73 and still alive and just not the same. But I just got a tingle when they did that for me."
And Barry's advice for older veterans "I'd tell 'em go to the Games. And even if you don't win, it doesn't matter. Because there's just caring, caring. I mean I just love it. I really do I hope I live to be 90."