Members of Team Air Force at this year’s Warrior Games. Photo: MSgt. David Long
This year’s Department of Defense Warrior Games were held June 1 to 9 and hosted by USAF at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. (See “Warriors for Life,” p. 18.)
The Air Force Association was on hand to support the athletes, their caregivers, and families. Led by Vice President of Member and Field Relations Kari Voliva, who also manages AFA’s Wounded Airman Program, AFA did an outstanding job of showing the athletes, their families and friends, and spectators how the association does things “first class.” Numerous volunteers, Voliva, and her AFA team members Sharon Kayira and Christine Brown pulled it all together.
Only Active Duty airmen are eligible to receive funds directly from USAF. But, through corporate and field donations raised in support of AFA’s Wounded Airman Program, Voliva’s team helped raise over $120,000 to cover the Trials and Warrior Games. These funds helped support 25 veterans compete in the Trials. From those 25, eight of the AFA-supported veterans were selected and funded to round out the 40 members who made up Team Air Force.
AFA set up a hospitality tent, loaded with drinks, snacks, and ice cream for the athletes and their families. All were pleased with the support shown to our wounded airmen. I believe that our support played a small part in the success of Team Air Force, which won the most medals, winning 165 over the course of these games (64 more than the nearest competitor, the Navy). Next year’s games are being hosted by SOCOM at MacDill, AFB, Fla.
AFA’s Wounded Airman Program also provided memorial bracelets for all attendees to wear in honor of two fallen heroes who the program had supported throughout previous Warrior Games: Capt. Austin Williamson and Christopher Cochrane.