Helping veterans through adaptive sports: Joyce Casey retires from Milwaukee VA Medical Center
After 23 years in the army and a serious spinal cord injury Terrence Miguel Green was looking for a way back into civilian life.
"If I didn't come here, I probably would be gone. They didn't let me give up. Pushing me into sports can help me."
That’s where Joyce Casey came in. The recreational therapist spent 15 years in Milwaukee helping veterans re-learn how to play countless sports.
"After they’re injured it’s kind of like a rebirth so to speak because you have to learn how to modify your lifestyle so that you can move on," Joyce says. "It's really neat to show somebody don't sell your equipment yet because we can show you how to do it with a twist of lime.”
Jim Jacobi served in Vietnam and has lost both of his legs. That didn’t stop him from downhill skiing for the first time in his life at 71 years old.
"Just wonderful to be able to be so active at my age that it makes me feel younger. I think I'm more active at 75 than I was at 50. It's just great."
"You just know that there’s going to be carryover value so that they can continue on to do something so they feel like they are who they are. Feel complete and whole again," Joyce tells me.
She adds that adaptive sports help veterans with depression and weight gain while promoting a healthy lifestyle.
“Everybody has a little spirit and light inside of them and when they find out they can do something well again it starts to glow.”
Because of the pandemic Joyce didn’t get a proper retirement party and some veterans didn’t get to tell her just how much their "big sister" meant to them. So we wanted to give them the chance.
Jim: "I would just say to her she’s done so much for us and how much I loved her for everything she’s done."
Terrence: "Scott, she’s that type of person. If we had more people like that I think a lot of veterans would be in a better place."