Team Martinsburg excels during national competition - Martinsburg VA Medical Center
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Team Martinsburg excels during national competition

May 25, 2017

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MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – Team Martinsburg, the Martinsburg VA Medical Center’s National Veterans Golden Age Games (NVGAG) team, broke their previous medal count record while competing at the 2017 NVGAG in Biloxi, Mississippi, May 7 through 11.

Team Martinsburg brought home a total of 33 medals, 11 Gold, 12 Silver, 10 Bronze and 18 ribbons for fourth, fifth and sixth place finishes, breaking their previous record of 26 medals and 11 ribbons.

The NVGAG is the premier senior adaptive rehabilitation program for military Veterans who are 55 years and older and is the only national multievent sports and recreational seniors’ competition program designed to improve the quality of life for all older Veterans, including those with a wide range of abilities and disabilities.

This year Team Martinsburg had five new Veterans join the team with 19 of the 20 Veterans receiving either a medal or ribbon. The 20th Veteran placed fourth in table tennis; however, that event does not give ribbons.

According to U.S. Air Force Veteran Darren Yowell, Team Martinsburg’s head coach and a recreation therapy specialist at the medical center, the team finished in the top 10 in nearly every event, but to him, it’s not about the medals.

“The most important thing, even more important than all the accomplishments in Biloxi is that members of Team Martinsburg are all active and healthier,” said Yowell. “Each member has taken an active role in their own health and wellness plan and that is the true gold medal.”

New team member and U.S. Army Veteran Julian Murray, whose goal was to have fun and do his best, said, “I had fun but more importantly, I’m more active and on my way to a healthier lifestyle.” Murray won a Silver Medal in doubles badminton, a Fifth Place Ribbon in the 50 meter breaststroke swim, and a Fifth Place Ribbon in the ½ mile powerwalk. He is already looking forward to next year’s games in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

U.S. Air Force Veteran Michael Clark, Team Martinsburg’s assistant coach and a recreation therapy specialist at the medical center, is also looking forward to next year’s games. “I wanted to help coach Team Martinsburg because of the relationships that are forged during sports,” said Clark. “The connection a coach has with athletes is something special and I look forward to continuing to help Veterans train for the games and work toward their health and wellness goals.”

Team Martinsburg brought home the following:

Gold Medals
Sandra “Su” Carroll - 50 meter Freestyle Swim
Debra Ferguson - 1 mile Powerwalk and Badminton (doubles)
Celestine “LaRue” Nelson - Shot put, 800 meter Run, Badminton (singles) and Badminton (doubles)
Judi Roberts - Discus
Pierce Smith - 1/2 mile Powerwalk
Ben Welch - Javelin and 200 meter Run

Silver Medals
Sandra “Su” Carroll - 25 meter Freestyle Swim
Robert Dozier - Badminton (doubles)
James Eells - 25 meter Freestyle Swim
Debra Ferguson - Badminton (singles) and Shot put
Zach Johnson - Badminton (doubles)
Julian Murray - Badminton (doubles)
Robert Myers - 1 mile Powerwalk
Sylvester Smith - Badminton (singles)
Ben Welch - 100 meter Run
David Whipple - Badminton (doubles)
Fred Wisner - Horseshoes

Bronze Medals
Robert Dozier - Badminton (singles)
James Eells - 50 meter Freestyle Swim
Zach Johnson - Shot Put
Celestine “LaRue” Nelson - Discus
Judi Roberts - 1/2 mile Powerwalk
Pierce Smith - Discus
Ollie Tregoning - Shuffleboard
Ben Welch - Badminton (singles) and 800 meter Run
Fred Wisner - Cycling 

Fourth Place Ribbons
Zach Johnson - Discus
Norman Marriot - Shot Put
Christopher Musick - 50 meter Backstroke Swim
Judi Roberts - 50 meter Breaststroke Swim
Ollie Tregoning - Javelin
Ben Welch - 50 meter Freestyle

Fifth Place Ribbons
James Eells - Discus
Julian Murray - 50 meter Breaststroke Swim and ½ mile Powerwalk
Christopher Musick - 50 meter Breaststroke Swim
Melvin Rascoe - Javelin
Judi Roberts - 25 meter Breaststroke Swim 

Sixth Place Ribbons
Robert Dozier - 1 mile Powerwalk
Debra Ferguson - Discus
Richard Fox - 1/2 mile Powerwalk
Robert Myers - Discus
Sylvester Smith - Javelin
David Whipple - Discus