Student Spotlight: GIVE-ing his all for wounded veterans
Junior, West Liberty High School
Life can challenging for veterans returning home after military service; this is especially true for veterans who have suffered from life-altering injuries. West Liberty junior Brice Page and other volunteers with the Golf for Injured Veterans Everywhere (GIVE) Foundation, help veterans adjust to life post-service through support, comradery, and most-importantly, golf. Brice, an avid golfer for the past 8 years, uses his expertise and golf know-how to help wounded veterans who are new to the sport or are adapting to play with new physical limitations resulting from injuries sustained during their military service.
“[As a GIVE volunteer] my responsibilities are [helping] the blind aim up, getting the immobile in their carts, and giving helpful advice for those who need it,” said Brice.
Founded in 2007 as a partnership between Iowa City VA Medical Center, the Iowa PGA Section, and Riverside Casino and Golf Resort, GIVE is a not-for-profit organization that utilizes the game of golf to enhance injured veteran’s mental, social, physical, and emotional well-being and improve their quality of life.
Brice has been a GIVE volunteer nearly since its inception in 2007.
“I became involved when my father, also a wounded veteran, asked if I wanted to help,” Brice said. “I heard some of the [veterans’] battle stories; to hear how they lost some of their closest friends and family is quite amazing, and how they practically looked death in the eye multiple times. […] I was pretty much hooked and have stayed in the program for 5 years.”
Brice says that gaining the trust of the new veterans in the program can be difficult. But once relationships are established, the volunteers and veterans form a supportive community where veterans can feel safe to share their stories.
“It is very life changing to see the effect war has on people,” said Brice. “To see what they have gone through and hear how many near death experiences they have… You never know what it’s like because the media doesn't tell the entire truth.”
Ultimately, Brice helps GIVE participants learn to love the sport he enjoys so much.
“The most rewarding part was having a blind veteran who was close enough to a grenade that the blast from the grenade messed up his eyes shoot a 42 on a par 36,” Brice said. “The most important thing I have learned from this program is to respect [veterans] and the fallen. They have lost almost everyone, and them knowing that I am there for them is all I need.”