Honoring Our Veterans
This morning over 40 Veterans were honored at the Stonestown Family YMCA’s Veterans Breakfast. Officers from the San Francisco Police Department marched with our state flags while a Y-member sang the national anthem. The YMCA of San Francisco is proud to partner with the VA (Veterans Affairs) to host a program that facilitates health and wellness for Veterans in our local community; providing affordable access to exercise facilities, personal training, and mental health support. The room was lively and warm as we took time to honor those who have served this country.
Daniel “Max” Maxwell
“Nobody knows what it’s like to be in the military, to have a drill sergeant yelling at you, risking your life for other people’s freedom, but Veterans do. I’ve been with the Veterans group for about a year, walking, working out at the Y, and doing yoga. Veterans don’t have that much money, and this program is very cost effective. It’s a great opportunity to work towards complete physical and mental health.” Daniel Maxwell, Marine Corps Veteran
Howie Slater, (left) & James Wyatt, (right)
“A lot of veterans are hard headed. They don’t like taking orders, because they had to do that for a long time. It’s nice to sit on a bicycle with nobody bothering you. This program throws Vets into a social program. It acclimates them into socializing in the world again.” - Howie Slater, 25th Infantry Vietnam Veteran
“There’s a disconnect between the western medical system and being healthy. This program is an alternative way to get healthy. I’ve been doing yoga and fitness for 3 years now and it’s the best therapy I’ve had. Chris went out of his way to get this program out there and lots have benefitted from it.” - James Wyatt, drafted to the Army in 1968
John McQuaid (left) & Chuck Collins (right), CEO of the YMCA of San Francisco
“Veterans have done more to protect our freedom than anyone else. They’ve put everything on the line and made a commitment that’s unique, and we need to honor them.” - John McQuaid, Chief of Mental Health at the VA
Christian Dillon is the recreation therapist for the Veterans group, facilitating exercises, and helping Veterans meet their strength and wellness goals. When Christian was 18, he experienced violent trauma to the head and was in a coma for 22 days. Upon waking, he was told he would never walk again. He has since worked his way to completing an Exercise Science degree at USF and now works with the VA.