Sports program for disabled veterans gets funding boost

More than $128,000 in federal funding has been awarded to a Miami-Dade parks program that offers disabled veterans a chance to enjoy wheelchair basketball, archery and many other recreational activities.

The Miami-Dade County Commission on July 8 approved a resolution accepting a grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2021 National Veterans Sports Program. The funding benefits the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department’s VICTOR (Veterans Integrated into the Community through Outdoor Recreation) Adapted Sports Program.

The resolution, sponsored by County Commission chair Jose “Pepe” Diaz and co-sponsored by Commissioner Kionne L. McGhee, authorizes the county to spend the funds from the VA grant in the amount of $128,036.93. It also approves in-kind contributions from the Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department in the amount of $34,079.03.

“This program goes a long way toward promoting the health and wellness of our disabled veterans and members of the Armed Forces,” Diaz said. “It raises awareness among disabled veterans on the benefits of sports and leisure activities.”

The VICTOR Adapted Sports Program is an outdoor, multi-sport initiative that serves disabled veterans in Miami-Dade County and the surrounding South Florida region. The program is offered at no cost to disabled veterans. The fun activities include archery, boccia, fishing, handcycling, trap shooting, wheelchair basketball, water-skiing, snorkeling, camping, sailing, paddle sports, kitesurfing, pickleball and adapted aquatics.

This program serves veterans who have become disabled because of spinal cord injury, amputation, head injury, multiple sclerosis and other diseases that affect their endurance or mobility, or those who have post-traumatic stress disorder.

The VICTOR program has been operating since 2016 and previously operated under the name The COVERT Project.

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