Photos by Sam McIntosh

The National Disabled Veterans TEE Tournament is celebrating 25 years in southeast Iowa this week, as they host 250 veterans from across the country for a week of activities and camaraderie.

The week isn’t just about golf though, as the Riverside Casino and Golf Resort and other area locations host activities including adaptive biking, fishing, rock climbing, scuba diving and kayaking. Army Veteran Michaun Harrison from Fredericksburg, Virginia attended the TEE Tournament for the second year, “It makes you want to get back more active when you see everybody out doing stuff and you kind of slack off when you get home. But then you get around other people and some people have more disabilities than you, it makes you want to get up, get more active, and get moving again.”

Thunder Rode from Decorah has provided horseback riding for seven years at the event. Navy veteran and volunteer Sam Fox shares how Thunder Rode impacts riders and volunteers, “Two things especially for disabled veterans: one is the connection between animal and the person, and the other is a sense of accomplishment, especially for people with TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and post-traumatic stress. There’s a connection and rehabilitation with post-traumatic stress and the use of the horses, so it’s very important I think for veterans.”

For Navy Veteran James Thompson from Freeport, Louisiana, riding a horse was like riding a bike, as he often rode horses as a child, “Yes, you never forget, and I love horses.”

Over 500 volunteers help coordinate the annual National Veterans TEE Tournament, and veterans and their companions did activities at the Riverside Casino and Golf Resort, Kalona Golf Club, Washington Golf and Country Club, and other area locations.