Lakeshore Foundation announced Tuesday that United States veterans and their families now qualify for free membership at its 45-acre campus in Homewood.
Lakeshore has become an internationally renowned organization, serving more than 4,000 unique individuals annually through physical activity, sport, recreation, advocacy, policy, and research. It serves as an Olympic and Paralympic Training Site, strengthening the ongoing commitment to the development of para sports.
“Just as important as the activities is the strong sense of community created through Lakeshore Foundation’s programs,” said John D. Kemp, President & CEO, Lakeshore Foundation. “All veterans and their families deserve a place to exercise, as well as rejuvenate their minds, hearts and bodies.”
The National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics estimates that there are more than 377,000 U.S. Veterans living in Alabama. The new Lakeshore Foundation Veterans Program is funded by a grant from the State of Alabama.
“There is nothing more important to me than supporting the needs of our Veterans here in Alabama and across the U.S.,” said Will Ainsworth, Lt. Governor, State of Alabama. “We worked with Alabama legislators to create and fund this grant so that every Veteran household qualifies for a free membership to Lakeshore Foundation.”
In 2003, Lakeshore was recognized as an official U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site. In 2006, as a response to the significant number of men and women acquiring injuries from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, Lakeshore Foundation formalized its long-held commitment to veterans with the establishment of Operation Lima Foxtrot.
Lakeshore Lima Foxtrot offers camps and programs for injured military and their families from across the country at no cost. In addition, Lakeshore established Operation Endurance, which offered free Lakeshore memberships to local veterans with a service-connected disability.
Lakeshore currently provides opportunities for veterans to live a healthy lifestyle through physical activity, research, advocacy, and health promotion. Programs at Lakeshore are inclusive of veterans with and without physical disabilities including dozens of fitness, aquatics, and recreational activities at its Birmingham facility.
“This new program reflects our deep commitment to veterans and builds on our efforts to support the overall well-being of our veterans through recreation, athletics, fitness, and aquatics. Lakeshore’s expert staff deliver engaging activities including cycling, shooting, archery, golf, wheelchair basketball, and pickleball,” said Kemp. “Lakeshore has also been instrumental in supporting and providing its expertise to injured military-focused sporting events like Invictus Games, Valor Games and Paralyzed Veterans of America camps.”