Veterans Events Serve
A Greater Purpose
By Greg Mellen
Society values the service of its veterans. They are our defenders. And the sacrifices of the members of America’s armed forces can be immense. But when veterans return home, they sometimes aren’t the same as when they left. They may come back with broken bodies and psyches, with depression, with post-traumatic stress disorder and physical pain and limitations. Mental and physical health professionals almost universally agree that, in these circumstances, physical and social involvement—including through recreation and sports—are invaluable elements of recovery.
Meeting these needs are a growing number of sports events and programs geared specifically for veterans. The benefits of such events on host communities have a significant impact. Because bigger national veterans sports events often include hundreds of athletes and their families and friends, and include expos and vendors who provide goods and services, they can account for thousands of room nights and millions in economic impact. In addition, staging competitions are an admirable way for a destination to express appreciation for veterans’ service.
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