FORT POLK, La. – The Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital Military Ombudsman won eight medals for the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, La., at the 36th Annual National Age Games. gold of veterans. Retired Command Sergeant Major and Combat Medic Kevin Stuart is a great example of fitness and resilience for veterans of all ages.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Senior Senior Games is the premier adaptive rehabilitation program for seniors in the United States and the only national multi-event senior sports and recreation competition program. The program is designed to improve the quality of life for all older veterans, including those with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. The NVGAG is one of the most progressive and adaptive senior sports rehabilitation programs in the world. The Games serve as a qualifying event for competition at the Senior National Games in a number of competitive events.
This year’s contest was held in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and was the third Stuart entered.
Stuart says physical activity is the best way to build resilience and improve overall health.
“I’m 62 and exercise and fitness are part of my daily life,” he said. “There’s a reason the military does physical training first thing in the morning because it gets those endorphins flowing,” he said. “Endorphins make us feel good, make us look good, and help us perform at our best. I encourage everyone to get up and move as often as they can. Simple things that people can do, such as parking further away or taking a short walk during a break from work, can improve our overall well-being Moving makes us feel better and allows us to better serve our patients and beneficiaries.
Stuart said he heard about the NVGAG in 2016.
“The games are held every year in different cities across the country for veterans 55 and older,” he said. “I’ve competed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Anchorage, Alaska, and most recently the Sioux Falls competitions. They canceled events scheduled for Florida and Wisconsin due to COVID- 19. »
Stuart said there are a variety of activities for both male and female veterans, including air pistol, air rifle, badminton, basketball, blind disc golf, boccia, bowling, cornhole, cycling, adaptive cycling, field, golf, horseshoes, nine-ball, pickleball, powerwalk, shuffleboard, swimming, table tennis and track. Events are open to ambulatory, wheelchair and blind athletes with age classifications of 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80-84, 85-89 and 90 plus . Stuart competed in nine events.
“This year I competed in the air rifle event for the first time where I finished eighth,” he said. “I have won medals in the other events I have participated in. I finished first in the 1500 meters powerwalk, 2nd in the 400 meters and pickleball, third in the 3000 and 1500 meters as well as in badminton and tennis. table.”
Stuart said he used the badminton and pickleball partner search and met his partners for those sports on the day of the event.
“I’ve met a lot of great people who come to these games. Veterans of the Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. “When I was at the Anchorage games, there was a 101-year-old World War II veteran who won first place in bowling.”
Stuart said many attendees spend a lot of time practicing their events and have top-of-the-line equipment.
“It’s a huge deal, the medals are a big deal and the culmination of all their hard work,” he said. “Medals and games are motivating and inspiring.”
Stuart said the camaraderie of NVGAG games is second to none.
“The same camaraderie we had in the military; Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard,” he said. “It’s similar to that, that connection that we had with each other when we were in the military. That brotherhood and brotherhood that we have in those events. When we were in the military, we were competitive ;when we received a mission or a task, we wanted to be the best. These are games, but it’s also life; fitness for life. You can’t just show up to these games and play, you have to prepare and practice. These games brought me into contact with other veterans from across the country, from different branches and eras of service that I would not have met if I had not decided to compete.
Stuart served 32 years on active duty in the military and retired in 2014. He became BJACH’s military ombudsman in 2018.
The JRTC and Fort Polk Ombudsman operates as an independent, neutral, and unbiased resource for service members and their family members. The ombudsman can help solve medical problems, but can also help solve other problems.
Stuart says he enjoys his position as military ombudsman at BJACH because he wants to share his knowledge and experience to help others. In his role, he serves as a liaison, advocate and resource for soldiers and their families.
“If a soldier or a member of my family brings me a problem, I will take that problem as my own,” he said. “I will coordinate, collaborate, communicate and in some cases mediate to help this person resolve their issue.”
Colonel Aristotle Vaseliades, commander of BJACH, said Stuart embodies resilience.
“Mr. Stuart has the ability to find positivity in everything that happens around him; good bad or indifferent,” he said. “As a retired command sergeant major, working from on the civilian side of government, he has the ability to connect with almost anyone in the hospital. He understands the perspective of where they come from and provides them with helpful tools and recommendations to become more resilient.”
Vaseliades said he encourages resilience within his organization.
“First, during ongoing treatment, I remind all employees that their health and well-being are integral to their ability to perform at their best on a daily basis. I encourage them to do everything what they need to stay physically, psychologically, spiritually and emotionally on top of their wellbeing,” he said. “At BJACH, we offer a meditation room and weight room for staff where they can take a short break to relax or release stress if they need it. We have also just set up a resilience team made up of a cross section of hospital staff, both soldiers and civilians to look at certain areas of the hospital that can be improved to help with the resilience. Mr. Stuart is responsible for reviewing our wellness line of effort.
Stuart said he encourages everyone to try new things whenever they can.
“People aren’t meant to be alone, especially as you get older, these games bring people together and help us stay connected,” he said. “It is important for veterans to join and participate in veterans organizations and advocate for each other and for those still serving.
Stuart said everyone should get involved in something.
“Everyone should get involved in some type of activity or event to keep you going,” he said. “Everyone has a niche, but sometimes you don’t know what it is until you commit to it. I would say to everyone, give yourself the opportunity to engage and participate in something. If you can get involved in some sort of activity, band together and give back to the community. Sometimes we are the vessel to help others and we don’t even realize it until we get involved.
Stuart said there’s good in every day.
“Get out of the house, get out of the barracks,” he said. “There are all sorts of things to do and participate in, both on and off post. In life there is a sunny side and a slummy side. I tend to look on the sunny side. I don’t need negative vibes, I need positive vibes. Positive vibes tend to make me move, think and be positive. There is good in every day, you just have to find it.
|Date posted:||16.08.2022 13:55|
|Location:||FORT POLK, LA, USA|
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