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 additional care until he got the proper diagnosis and help he needed.

“(Often, Veterans) are not chomping at the bit to try something like skiing — when they have never skied before — especially when they are dealing with a new injury or diagnosis,” explains VA Recreational Therapist Colleen Virzi. “It takes a lot of encouragement to get Vets involved locally to prepare them for an event this size.”

The benefit of recreational therapy is life changing, especially transformational for Vets that feel uncomfortable and anxious in crowds or trying new things.

For Márquez, the trip to the Winter Sports Clinic is the beginning of a new journey.

For Virzi, she sees Márquez’s progress is as much physiological as physical.

For BVL, another positive “check!” in the “Supporting America’s Veterans” column…