T-bolts man VA sports clinic

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(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Devante Williams)

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Airmen from Luke Air Force Base assisted with the 2016 Department of Veterans Affairs National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic Sept. 19 through 23 in San Diego.

More than 40 Airmen attended the clinic assisting disabled veterans. Sports activities, such as surfing, archery, sailing, kayaking, cycling and rowing, proved rehabilitative for the particpants.

The veterans attending the event had a range of disabilities including amputated limbs, burns, neurological disorders, traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“The event is a unique opportunity for veterans and active-duty servicemembers on medical hold to come into an environment that allows them to do adaptive sports that help them re-transition into the lives they had before their injuries,” said Tristan Heaton, clinic director.

Veterans from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan attended the clinic. The National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic brings veterans together for recreational opportunities that compliment rehabilitation, while improving physical, mental and emotional fitness.

Thunderbolts have been volunteering since 2010 to help make the clinic enjoyable for the veterans.

“Luke Airmen are an amazing group of people who allow us to have volunteers at all venues,” Heaton said. “Without their help, our program would be seriously limited in its overall effectiveness.”

The sports clinic is an incredible opportunity for injured combat veterans and for Airmen at Luke Air Force Base to serve, according to Senior Airman Koraye Williams, 56th Comptroller Squadron finance technician.

“This is my third time going and it’s an amazing every time,” he said. “It’s an unbelievable feeling to help out the veterans. They have given so much to our country and deserve the time to heal.”

Retired Navy Petty Officer Third Class Karoy Campbell surfs during the National Disabled Veterans Summer Sports Clinic Sept. 19, 2016 at San Diego, Ca. The clinic gave veterans an opportunity to challenge themselves through education and recreational activities. Rehabilitation was promoted using summer sporting activities such as surfing, archery, sailing, kayaking, cycling and rowing.

Volunteers from Luke Air Force Base help veterans reach the ocean during the National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic Sept. 21, 2016 at San Diego, Ca. The clinic provided opportunities for veterans to learn adaptive surfing, sailing, cycling, kayaking, rowing, judo and archery.

Senior Airman Koraye Williams, 56th Comptroller Squadron finance technician, and Senior Airman Vernon Sparks, 56th Force Support Squadron career development technician, clean the kayaks during the National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic Sept. 21, 2016 at San Diego, Ca.

A veteran poses with a staff member on the beach Sept. 21.

Volunteers and participants partake in a group photo during the National Disabled Veterans Summer Sports Clinic Sept. 19, 2016 at San Diego, Ca. More than forty Luke Airmen attended the clinic to assist disabled veterans from all over the country. The clinic gave veterans an opportunity to challenge themselves through education and recreational activities. Rehabilitation was promoted using summer sporting activities such as surfing, archery, sailing, kayaking.