Veterans compete in Valor Games Midwest at Soldier Field

Veterans compete in Valor Games Midwest at Soldier Field

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The Valor Games Midwest kick off at noon Monday, as 220 injured military veterans and active duty service members descend on Soldier Field to meet the challenge of achieving new goals.

Department of Veterans Affairs Assistant Secretary Dr. Tommy Sowers and United States Olympic Committee member Charlie Huebner joined Good Day Chicago to explain what the Valor Games Midwest are all about.

The special program may only be in its third year, but the need to give vets new purpose - a new avenue for success - and help make them feel welcome upon returning home from active duty has never been greater.

Sowers said the games are a part of the VA's adaptive sports program, which began in Chicago through a partnership with the U.S. Olympic Committee.

"[The games] give the VA a way to challenge veterans to do more in their lives." Sowers said, "And to challenge themselves through sports."

The Valor Games give these naturally competitive veterans an arena to focus their energy and drive on competition, with themselves and with others, to help them get to a better place after making so many sacrifices to serve their country with honor.

"The power of sport is incredible," Huebner said. "Lots of times when somebody gets injured you think about all the things they can't do. It comes back to the simplicity of friends and family saying, ‘Hey, I want to go skiing with my buddy or run with my son.' Working with the VA and the World Sports Chicago Program, we create more opportunities for veterans that come home to go back to a simple, normal, everyday participation in sports with our friends and family. It's powerful."

Monday's activities include a cycling event, with different types of bikes to accommodate the range of injuries the soldiers suffered. Field events, weight-lifting and other athletic competitions will also take place Monday.

The Valor Games, which are open to anyone in the country, also take place in three other locations across the nation.

The three-day program also includes a job fair. There will be 320 booths and dozens of potential employers. Veterans should bring their resumes, whether they're competing or just watching,

For more information about sustainable programming Chicago veterans can participate in every day of the year, please visit World Sports Chicago's website.

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