Canandaigua VA Medical Center
Basketball Court Dedicated
Basketball Court Dedicated at the Canandaigua VAMC
The thought on everyone’s mind at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center on Tuesday July 19th was YES, maybe dreams do come true!
In January 2016, the Voluntary Services Office in Canandaigua received a call from Mike Cooney from the Project Boot Campaign. Mike asked two simple questions; what could the VA use? and what could the Boot Campaign do to make it happen?
An outdoor Basketball Court is something that has always been on the wish list of the VA. It has become even more so over the past several years as the VA has tried to move residents and outpatient Veteran into a more active and participatory lifestyle for better physical and mental health, by organizing more activities that are physically oriented. It became quickly apparent to VA Staff involved in the project that after hearing of this, Mike would take the lead, vowing that it would be done by June.
Mike and the Project Boot Campaign have teamed up to donate one of six backyard makeovers to active duty and retired Veterans and their families. Mike share, "This makeover at the VA was chosen because it could touch the lives of more than just one Veteran. We hope that many Veterans enjoy the basketball court, and that Veterans in the Community as well will be reached by it.”
And so it progressed, with Mike and his team recruiting partners to join in and help, including the Dolomite Group who purchased much of the materials, and Ruston Paving who prepared the area and made it into a real basketball court. When all was said and done, their collective donation totaled $25,000, and on that sunny July 19th the ribbon was cut with Associate Director Margaret Owens and others assisting and the first basketballs went through the nets.
Kudos to Mike Cooney for his vision and drive in getting the project done, to the Project Boot Campaign for their support, to local area businesses the Dolomite Group and Ruston Paving for their vital assistance. VA staff members also assisted greatly and were instrumental in the process; Louise Motyka and Regina Deck from Voluntary Services, Eric Smith from Construction & Maintenance, Hank Riegel from Recreation, and Public Affairs Officer Dan Ryan. Additional thanks to the Engineering Staff at the VA who helped kick-start the project at the beginning, and stepped up to help out at the end.
It is partnerships such as this, that help to avoid and get through the red-tape, and produce results. And in the end it is our Veterans that benefit when everyone can work together for a common goal. It is sincerely hoped that the sound of basketballs hitting the pavement will echo in the VA Courtyard for many years to come, and that our Veterans will be healthier and happier because of it.