Bowlers Group Brings Fun to Troops

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2008 - During the early days of World War II, the Bowler's Victory League completed its first project of purchasing two medical evacuation planes to bring wounded troops home.

Some 66 years later, the organization's name is slightly different, but the organization's mission is still very much the same.

"The Bowlers to Veterans Link was founded in 1942 as the Bowler's Victory Legion to support the men returning from the battlefields of Europe," said Elizabeth Montanya, a spokeswoman for the group. "(Since then), BVL has provided the extras not funded by the government to our active-duty and veteran servicemen and women to help brighten their days."

To date, the group has raised nearly $36 million to purchase recreational equipment as well as to support therapeutic programs and services, she said.

"Currently, among (the organization's) many efforts, we are sending portable carpet bowling lanes and equipment to men and women on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as hundreds of other locales around the globe," Montanya said. "The (kit), packaged in a nylon carrying bag, can be set up in a few minutes' time, whenever a break in the schedule permits."

The kits include a 26-foot-long red, white and blue carpet bowling lane, a 5-pound rubberized bowling ball, and lightweight plastic bowling pins. More than 500 kits already have been shipped, Montanya said.

Stateside, Bowlers to Veterans Link also offers tickets to museum and theater performances, and supports gardening and pet therapy programs.

It also is a longtime sponsor of four major recreation events each year that affect thousands of veterans -- the Golden Age Games, the Winter Sports Clinic, the Creative Arts Festival and the Wheelchair Games, according to the group's Web site.

Bowlers to Veterans Link is a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.

The affiliation holds promise for the group on several fronts. "We are looking forward to getting a better handle on other programs that are under way and to perhaps find partners to continue our efforts and, subsequently, expand programming," Montanya said.

*Related Sites:*
Bowlers to Veterans Link  [ ]
Bowlers Group Brings Fun to Troops [ ]