National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic: Day Four

The Hendersons

Jeremy Henderson is accustomed to helping others. As a peer specialist at the Roseburg VA Medical Center in Oregon, Jeremy provides support to Veterans undergoing mental health treatment.  A former Army combat engineer with two deployments to Iraq, he is a Veteran serving Veterans. This week, he was one of more than 100 participants at the National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic.

Shortly after getting out of the service, Jeremy began working at the Roseburg VA.  He enjoys working with other combat OEF/OIF Veterans and shares many of their experiences.

“I would like to continue supporting Veterans,” Jeremy said.

With encouragement from his VA colleagues, Jeremy participated in his first Summer Sports Clinic in 2013. His wife and caregiver, Candice, joined him at the clinic this year. She said she’s helping him get outside his comfort zone.

“I’m the more talkative one of the two of us and I think I help Jeremy relax while he’s here,” Candice said. “It’s also a huge advantage for me to be able to see him around other Veterans—his peers.”

Jeremy said he’s socializing with other team members at the clinic and putting his peer specialist skills to work by building connections with fellow Veterans.  He even reconnected with four Veterans that he met last year.

His experience at the clinic has also inspired him to get more involved in his hometown.  An avid BMX rider growing up, Jeremy hadn’t been on a bike since childhood, until he cycled at the Summer Sports Clinic.  Now, he incorporates cycling, as well as swimming and rock climbing, into his regular fitness routine.

His participation in the clinic have also motivated him to connect with a recreational therapist out of Eugene, Oregon to bring outpatient recreational therapy activities to Roseburg.

Editor’s Note: VAntage Point is reporting from the 2014 National Veterans Sports Clinic, Sept. 7-12. This is the fourth in a series of blogs from the event. To learn more about VA’s Adaptive Sports Program, and the opportunities it provides Veterans with disabilities, visit va.gov/adaptivesports.

For photos from the National Veterans Sports Clinic, be sure to follow @deptvetaffairs on Instagram.

 

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