Covering those who serve and live in our city

Vets' Wives Get Back in the Game

New program integrates wives back into their wounded veteran husbands’ lives

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Over the past ten years of war, many of our troops have come back with life-impacting injuries. These Wounded Warriors have had support with programs to get them involved in recreational activities even as they heal.

    One program is meant to get the spouses involved too.

    Wives of Vets Get Back in the Game

    [DGO] Wives of Vets Get Back in the Game
    The Wives of Warriors program teaches golf to the wives of wounded service members who learned through its parent program, Operation Game On. (Published Thursday, Oct 20, 2011)

    They run households, work full time jobs, and help their husbands through some of the most painful times in their lives. And while their husbands learned sports to enhance their rehabilitation, they cheered them on from the sidelines.

    Now, these "Wives of Warriors" are stepping out on the greens too.

    Dennis and Trinity Ford are two year old twins born less than a month after their father, Derrick, lost his leg in an IED attack in Afghanistan. His recovery was tough, but Derrick says his wife Michelle is the real trooper.

    "I think she got a whole lot more than what she signed up for," Derrick says.

    Derrick fought to re-gain his ability to walk on a prosthetic leg and almost beat his twins to their first steps. He learned golf to enhance his recovery, and to help to take his mind off of it. Michelle's complete focus was to keep the family going.

    "I haven't done much for myself since his injury,” she said.

    Three weeks ago, that changed with a new program called "Wives of Warriors." One of the first of its kind, it teaches golf to the wives of wounded service members who learned through its parent program, “Operation Game On!”

    Tony Perez, who founded the program, says it’s a welcomed break for them.

    "They're laughing - I've never seen so much giggling in my life in learning how to play a sport, but they're having fun and that's the whole thrust behind ‘Wives of Warriors’ and ‘Operation Game On!’”

    It's free to wives of the combat injured and they each get equipped with all the gear. They even get their own set of clubs. The wives are just a few weeks in to an eight week course, but Michelle says that learning golf has given her and Derrick a gift that will last a lifetime.

    "We can come together and have a great day together and do it for the rest of our lives - it’s going to be something that we'll always have together as a couple," she said.

    Trinity and Dennis are a little too young for golf, but starting today, the kids can learn to play golf too. The program is called "Little Heroes" and it will teach the children of combat injured troops.

    Lea Sutton covers stories involving San Diego's military community. Send her your thoughts via Twitter @nbcsandiego or add your comment to our Facebook page. Find more of her stories in our special military section.