Veterans, members of armed forces to compete in 12th annual Valor Games: 'We're all here together'

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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Veterans, members of armed forces to compete in Valor Games
"We're all here together," Michael Ballard, U.S. Navy, said, "just having the faith at the games to show people that God can help you through anything."

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Dozens of veterans and members of the armed forces with disabilities competed in the 12th annual Valor Games on Tuesday.

The games feature a series of sporting events spread out at several locations throughout Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. This year's theme is 'Healing and Recovery Always Undaunted, Undeterred, Undefined and Unashamed.'

"We're all here together," Michael Ballard, U.S. Navy, said, "just having the faith at the games to show people that God can help you through anything."

Valor Games returned in 2023 after a pandemic pause. Last year, organizers said 100 representatives of all U.S. military branches with some physical disabilities participated in rowing, powerlifting, table tennis, and other sports.

The games are sponsored by the non-profit Bridge to Sports and presented by MetLife.

"We still need to have fun," Ashley Thomas of Bridge II Sports said. "And we still need to find what we can do, even though something isn't working. And I think that's the beauty of these games."

Valor Games will consist of 11 competition sports, with closing ceremonies at MetLife's global technology hub in Cary.

Coast Guard veteran Brent Patterson is here for the first time, and likes what he sees.

"I've heard nothing but great things about the games. It's a good way for veterans with disabilities to come in and compete, especially the ones who have the competitive edge!" said Patterson.

They also appreciate the opportunities to compete with new teammates.

"This is my first Valor Games and so far, I'm enjoying the camaraderie. Just meeting other people, other warriors, and getting to know each other," said Rhoda Bargas who is a member of the U.S. Air Force.