Navy veteran Angela Walker found playing golf is good for her soul, even though she never expected to be able to play.
The DAV member is participating in her fourth National Disabled Veterans Golf Clinic this year. During the clinic, she can use an adaptive golf cart and receives guidance from VA staff. Walker said this is the only time she is able to play golf.
“They are prepared to help people with disabilities. The coaches… I had a helper, Wendy—a VA worker,” Walker said. “She was the first one to help me, she was encouraging me because she was like, ‘You can do this.’ She was really encouraging in her attitude.”
The Waukegan, Illinois, resident joined the Navy in 1985 and was training to work as a helicopter mechanic before her medical discharge.
“It’s absolutely remarkable that veterans like Angela have the ability to come out and play golf and overcome the obstacles they face as the result of their military service,” said DAV National Voluntary Services Director John Kleindienst. “We at DAV find this event creates victories for veterans. We are very appreciative that we’re able to co-present this event with our partners at the Department of Veterans Affairs.”
Walker said seeing other veterans and making friends are other reasons she enjoys the clinic.
“I like to say that this, the DAV golf tournament is good for the soul, and the reason that I say that is because you can get in and try different things despite of your illness and injury,” she said.
Part of the fun is the other activities including fishing and bowling, she added. Walker plans to play disc golf this year, too.
Another passion for Walker is singing patriotic songs to groups of veterans and at local community events. Walker said singing, and using her voice as self-therapy, helped her recovery process after leaving the Navy. She has sung to veteran patients at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago.
“I used to go on the wards, and I would sing in the greenhouses, and I would also sing in the sunroom,” she said. “I would do a variety of music for any of the patients. It was my way of giving back as I was being treated myself. That was all I had.”