March 9, 2011

Virginia warriors recognized at CAA basketball tournament

By Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

RICHMOND, Va. — Soldiers of the Virginia Army National Guard and members of their families were recognized for their service by Commissioner of Veterans Services, Paul E. Galanti and Virginia Air National Guard chief of staff, Brig. Gen. Wayne A. Wright, during halftime of a Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball championship tournament game between Old Dominion University and Hofstra at the Richmond Coliseum March 6. The Soldiers were honored on behalf of the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program for their dedicated service to the nation and the commonwealth.

 

Commissioner of Veterans Services, Paul E. Galanti and Virginia Air National Guard chief of staff, Brig. Gen. Wayne A. Wright honor Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers and their family members during halftime of a Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball championship tournament game between Old Dominion University and Hofstra at the Richmond Coliseum March 6. The Soldiers were honored on behalf of the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program for their dedicated service to the nation and the commonwealth. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Click HERE to see more photos from the event on the Virginia National Guard Flickr site.

Galanti, a Vietnam veteran, wanted to pay special attention to the Virginia Soldiers in front of the college basketball teams of the CAA tournament because many of the schools are from Virginia and he wanted the Soldiers to be noticed in front of their fellow Virginians.

“I think it’s important to recognize the service that our Virginians do in the Guard and the Reserves, and they are fighting just like (active-duty) Soldiers,” said Galanti. “With the Reserve and National Guard, the entire commonwealth has some skin in the game; they are all vested and they all have a personal interest in supporting our troops.”

The event was also important to highlight not just the Soldiers, but also to highlight the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program, which sponsored the event and helps veterans by helping them on the road to recovery from the effects of stress-related injuries such as post traumatic stress disorder, or traumatic brain injuries.

“We are getting more public recognition, not only for Wounded Warriors, but also for all veterans and all our guys who are returning who may have some issues and need to seek help,” said Wright. “They may not know about all of the avenues they have now for help, so we have to get the word out there, so folks understand what they are.”

In response to the growing need to improve and expand services to our nation’s veterans and service members, the commonwealth of Virginia established the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program in 2008 and it is operated by the Virginia Department of Veterans Services in cooperation with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and the Department of Rehabilitative Services.

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