MIAMI (CBSMiami) – At a Miami-Dade park, a group of disabled veterans recently participated in an archery lesson. Some, like Charles Corley, are quite skilled.
“I won first place in archery, it’s a very relaxing sport. What I like about it is it just relieves a lot of tension and you get better and better as you practice,” said Corley.
These exercise outings are actually therapy, created and managed by Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation with the Veterans Administration. It’s called VICTOR.
“It stands for Veterans Integrated into the Community Through Outdoor Recreation. For a lot of vets, when they return from war, when they are dealing with the effects, it’s very easy to become isolated and isolation is going to affect them mentally and physically,” said Jody Cox, a Miami-Dade Parks Recreation Therapist.
Offering support through sports, taking care of the men and women who served our country is important.
Corley is a U.S. Army veteran who is medically retired. He served in the Vietnam era from 1971-74 and is a spinal cord outpatient at the V.A.
Paul Totman was wounded in combat in Iraq. He participates in many of the sports offered,
“I’ve been in the service for 20 years. I served in the Vietnam era, got out, went back in Operation Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom,” he said.
He enjoys archery, and hand cycling as well.
“I love it because other than that I’d be indoors in the house laying down watching TV. This gets me out of the house and makes me do things,” he said.
As an amputee who competes and wins, he inspires others.
“You show them that it’s not the end of the world, you’ve got spinal cord and amputee, they look at you differently,” he said.
“We’ve seen a lot of veterans make dramatic improvements in their enthusiasm and motivation and their overall health. We have seen vets that could barely transfer from their wheelchairs to a chair, some of these individuals today they are cycling in marathons,” said Cox.
This year they brought back the most medals from the national competition. Overcoming the odds, they are both brave and proud.
“We are doing stuff that we never thought we could do, and it’s very gratifying and then you get to hang out with your friends,” Corley stated.
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