Retired veterans from all over the country are in Iowa City this week for special events. On Tuesday night, the vets played the old-fashioned game of horse shoes. Helpers stood beside the vets coaching them on the distance to the post and someone at the metal post tapped it with a horse shoe so the vets could hear the sound — because all the vets are legally blind.
Earl Vermillion hadn’t played horse shoes for a couple of decades. “It’s a lot different than when I could see,” he said. “It’s more difficult than I thought it would be.” World War II veteran Jim Near relished the challenge. “You just put your mind to it and do it. I don’t let nothing stop me,” he said. “Somebody said ‘Go to the moon’ if I thought I could make it, I’d try it.”
Organizers advised their sighted volunteers to keep their eyes peeled for airborne horse shoes and no one was injured by flying metal. “I didn’t know what to expect, frankly,” one volunteer said afterwards. “I’d be glad to do this anytime. It was a really nice experience.” Over one hundred blind veterans for 26 states are participating in this and other events in Iowa City this week. Most are participating in a golf tournament. An awards banquet will be held in Iowa City Thursday night.