LANDSDOWNE, VA.--Helping veterans was the theme at the 12th annual Paralyzed Veterans Golf Open (PVGO) held at Lansdowne Resort in Virginia on Sept. 23, 2019. Maj. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, The Surgeon General of the U.S. Army and Commanding General of U.S. Army Medical Command, was the featured speaker at the welcoming ceremony. The golf open is held each year by the Paralyzed Veterans Association.
Dingle thanked the commercial sponsors whose efforts in supporting this tournament raise money for Paving Access for Veterans Employment (PAVE), a program designed to help find and develop employment opportunities for veterans, but especially, disabled veterans. "You are difference makers in support of our paralyzed veterans," Dingle said.
To demonstrate the courage and spirit of wounded veterans, Dingle told of meeting a Marine who was recovering from a head wound that resulted in a traumatic brain injury and facial disfigurement. Dingle had wished him a speedy recovery and expressed concern for his injuries.
The Marine replied, "Don't feel sorry for me; it's because of the medics and Army Medicine that I'm able to stand here before you today. If not for Army Medicine I would not have made it. My family still has me."
That courage and spirit was evident at the Paralyzed Veterans Golf Open. Disabled veterans played golf alongside business leaders, military and government officials to support the PAVE program. The goal for the day was a round of golf in the sun; the longer goal is improving employment opportunities for veterans.
This golf tournament also showcased the latest adaptive sports technology that allows paralyzed individuals to play golf. Adaptive sports allow injured competitors to compete in numerous sports--from golf to volleyball and everything in between--and helps restore confidence that they can compete, not just in sports, but also in the workplace.
Since its inception in 2007, the PVGO has raised more than $4 million and dedicated 100 percent of those funds to the PAVE program. The program provides free career support and vocational counseling assistance to all veterans, transitioning service members, spouses, and caregivers.
"I thank you on behalf of the Chief of Staff and the Vice Chief of Staff for supporting our veterans," Dingle said. "Thank you for championing this cause. Thank you for standing, cheering, and encouraging our veterans. Thank you for not turning your back on our paralyzed veterans. I salute you--you are all winners because you support our veterans and our nation's heroes."