Bethesda, Md. -- Naval Support Activity Bethesda’s (NSAB) Morale, Welfare and Recreation Bowling Center invited wounded warriors to a ‘Heroes Bowl with the Pros’ event May 31.
Wounded Warrior Darryl Fletcher watches as his ball lands a strike. Fletcher is right-handed, but learned to bowl with his left hand after he was injured while serving in Iraq. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nathan Parde)
More than 50 wounded warriors bowled in three sessions throughout the morning and afternoon while receiving tips from professional bowlers and coaches.
“We had coaching staff and professional bowlers who have won up to a dozen tournaments on tour, and who play for Team U.S.A.,” said Bowling Center Manager, Adm. (Ret.) Noel Dysart. “It’s probably one of the highest concentrations of [bowling] coaches (gold and silver) that you’ll ever get in one place.”
NSAB’s Commanding Officer, Capt. Frederick Kass, frequently visits the bowling center and stopped by during the event for a few encouraging words, said Dysart.
“In Capt. Kass’ words, the three R’s -Recuperation, Rehabilitation and Restoration to society - are very important, and the bowling center can be a part of that,” said Dysart. “It gives them something they are used to doing that helps bring them back into society.”
He added wounded warriors are always very enthusiastic about the special events at the center. “I have had many wounded warriors come and thank me after events like these,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for them to bowl with their family, and they are very appreciative.”
Darryl Fletcher, part of the Wounded Warrior program at NSAB, shared that he used to be a right-handed bowler before he was injured in Iraq, and had to learn to adapt his technique.
“The professionals had plenty of tips. I’m somewhat of a ‘forced lefty,’ so practicing is helpful and it was awesome to have them here,” he said. “After three or four months, I can now get four-baggers (four strikes in a row) with my left arm.”
Fletcher bowls with his recreational therapist every Monday. When he heard about the event, he helped spread the word by distributing flyers and telling other wounded Soldiers about it.
“This is my first event at the bowling center, and I definitely recommend it,” he said. “This is a great morale booster for all of the wounded warriors. It’s convenient, and beats having to go off post to try to find a bowling alley.”
The NSAB bowling center was built in 1979, has 20 lanes and has received minor renovations over the years, including the new computerized scoring system, said Dysart.
The alley offers competitive rates for games and shoes, and hosts parties for special events, such as bar mitzvahs and birthday parties, he added.
Anyone with a federal employee as a sponsor can reserve the alley for special events.
For more information, contact the bowling center at 301-295-2034.
Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nathan Parde NSAB Public Affairs staff writer