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Disabled Women Veterans Learn Golf at National Event in Washington

Posted: Saturday, September 16th, 2017 at 6:28 am
Author: KCII News - Sam McIntosh

Navy and Army Reserve Veteran Cindy Ohara participated in the TEE Tournament for her second time. Photos by Sam McIntosh.

Camaraderie through shared experience was gained by disabled veterans at the 2017 National Disabled Veterans Training, Exposure and Experience (TEE) Tournament in southeastern Iowa this week.

About 260 disabled veterans learned how to play golf, and other adaptive sports at courses in Washington, Kalona, and Riverside. This year was the first for an all women’s team, which golfed at the Washington Golf & Country Club. Deanna “Coach” Callender, a National Guard, Army, and Army Reserve veteran from Minneapolis has attended the tournament for six years now, “It has been such a pleasure to come out here and learn a new sport. I’m a sports enthusiast and now that I can’t see, adaptive sports are my thing. So anytime I can come out and try any kind of adaptive sport I’m going to try.”

U.S. Navy veteran Angela Walker was nervous about her first time golfing, but she learned several tips from PGA professionals and fellow veterans, “I love this opportunity, I feel that a whole new world has opened up for me. It’s like I just opened up a new chapter to my life and I’m excited about the game. It’s a lot more than I thought it would be.”

Army Veteran Rhonda Akers from Jay, Oklahoma attended the TEE Tournament.

Many of the veterans say this event teaches them patience, and to believe in themselves. In her second year at the tournament, Navy and Army Reserve veteran Cindy Ohara has gained perspective, “Seeing the women, and they’re all different abilities both in golf; physically and mentally. As veterans we’ve experienced a lot and having that common bond, I think, is really nice. Seeing each other, sometimes you realize maybe my injuries aren’t necessarily so devastating as they feel to myself.”

TEE Tournament is sponsored by Disabled American Veterans, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and is hosted by the Iowa VA Health Care System.