Volunteers Needed


A Veteran bowls at the 32nd National Veterans Wheelchair Games. Photo courtesy Linnie Skidmore / Dept. of Veterans Affairs

Volunteers needed for Veterans Wheelchair Games

In the middle of next month, more than 500 veterans in wheelchairs, plus at least another 500 family members and helpers will descend upon Tampa for the 33rd National Veterans Wheelchair Games

The veterans will take part in events like trapshooting, basketball and a motorized rally at Raymond James Stadium.

I guarantee this is going to be an amazing event.

But the folks at the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital, which is putting it on with the Paralyzed Veterans of America, are starting to sweat.

The games, which take place July 13 to 18, require volunteers to fill 3,000 four-hour slots. The deadline to sign up is June 15.

So far, despite how much the community usually turns out for events that support veterans, organizers have only filled about half the slots they need.

"The concern is high to get the word out," says Haley spokeswoman Karen Collins. "We are in that final push and pretty engaged right now."

The old show-biz adage, says Collins, will apply. The show will go on even if organizers can't fill all the volunteer slots. But that could mean pulling VA staffers who don't effect patient services from around the region off their regular duties to help out, she says.

"We are working on the details of what we might do right now," says Collins.

Volunteers are needed to help veterans when they arrive, help them with their luggage and get in and out of their rooms. They are also needed to drive veterans around, help veterans get on and off buses, stay hydrated in the hot Florida sun and set up events like the slalom course.

"That's very complicated," says Collins.

I remember in the week leading up to the recent appearance of Gary Sinise's Lt. Dan Band at a concert to raise money for wounded Marine Mike Nicholson, organizers were in a near frenzy fearing that not enough people would show up.

But the event was a huge success. Maybe it's just that folks here like to wait to the last minute before charging into the breech.

Well, in football parlance, it's fourth and long on the 50 and the two-minute warning has just sounded.

Want to volunteer? Sure you do. Just contact Camilla Thompson, Tampa Volunteer Coordinator at Wheelchair.games@va.gov or call (813)-972-2000, ext. 6580.

Click here for the schedule of events.

Originally posted by The Tampa Tribune. All rights reserved.

 

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