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Veterans 55 years and older will be competing in several sports and recreational events in Detroit this week

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Detroit — This week, hundreds of veterans, their family members and about 1,000 volunteers will descend on downtown Detroit for the 30th annual National Veterans Golden Age Games.

The veterans will compete in events such as table tennis, cycling and racquetball at Cobo Center and other venues in Detroit. Pride and medals are on the line, they say.

Some 870 veterans are slated to compete this week, and 320 of them will take part for the first time. There are seven age categories for the competition, from ages 55 to 85 and up.

On Sunday, the focus was not on competition.

Southfield-based Irene’s Myomassology Institute provided several therapists-in-training to relieve veterans’ aches. By the time the booth closed, they’d served 97 clients.

For Kimberly Morrow, 46, of Livonia the opening day of the Golden Age Games was a chance not only to practice, but bring comfort to veterans, something she hopes to do when she opens her own massage parlor. The stay-at-home mother said she hopes to collaborate with the Veterans Administration’s Hands for Heroes initiative when her business opens.

“I would be honored to play a part in relieving the post-traumatic stress veterans face,” Morrow said. “We can’t cure it, but we can help.”

In what little time he’d been in Detroit, John Lenhardt, 75, of Team St. Louis described the Motor City as “top notch.”

“It’s just so great,” Lenhardt said shortly after touring the RiverWalk.

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The Vietnam veteran, drafted into the Air Force in 1963, said he’s participated in the Golden Age Games for six years. He planned to compete in several events, including bocce ball, air rifle, shuffleboard and, his two favorites, 9-ball and horseshoes. Team St. Louis brought 21 members to town. Last year, they brought home 17 medals.

So far, Detroit’s downtown area exceeded expectations, arrivals said.

“I didn’t know what to think before I got here, but it’s very friendly, and the people are great. Things are clean,” Lenhardt said.

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