By Jasanjit Bains
Valley State Prison
Local veterans and incarcerated veterans came together in the spirit of service and athleticism for the first-ever Veterans’ Day basketball game at Valley State Prison (VSP).
Local veterans volunteered their time to play against inmate veterans at VSP. The event was held to celebrate and honor all veterans. After a hard-fought but good-natured competition, the community veterans emerged victorious with a final score of 64-63. The intense game required two overtime periods to decide the winner, with both teams displaying good sportsmanship and appreciation.
The event was coordinated by Keith Harris (Ph.D.), executive director (A) of the Homeless Programs Office; Joel Rosenthal (Ph.D.), national training director for Veterans Justice Programs; VSP Warden Raythel Fisher Jr. and VSP staff.
The Veterans Affairs personnel said they were honored to take part in the event. Rosenthal said he has been involved with basketball for over 50 years and this was perhaps the best spirited game he has ever been connected with. He went on to send a special thanks from himself and on behalf of his six team members for the opportunity to be at VSP and honor veterans in this way. VSP inmates were appreciative to all volunteers who came out for this event.
The following individuals took part in the event:
- George Kennedy, Federal VA Representative
- Joel Rosenthal, Ph.D., National Training Director, VHA Veterans Justice Programs
- Keith Harris, Ph.D., Exec. Director (A), Homeless Programs Office
- Fred Gainess, Chowchilla High School Basketball Coach
Community and VA Community Players:
Julian Banzuela Agustin, Jr., Adam Benson Andrew, Patrick Rene Aranda, Steven Edward Fahrbach, Stephen Paul Forester, Robert Bruce Menzies, Nicolas David Newman, Robin Li O’Connor, Javier Robert Piccolotti, Reid, Michale Aaron
Valley State Prison staff:
Carmen Maroney, Community Resource Manager; T. Richard, Correctional Counselor I; and VSP staff volunteers Frances Aragon, Jasanjit Bains, Star Rodriguez, Wilhelmina Whitten
Valley State Prison inmate basketball team members:
Cobbs, A.; Zinnamon, S.; Laniohan, F.; Reyes, C.; Lockwood, J.; Gates, J.; Ealy, R.; Rios, A.; Long, R.; Brown, M.; Thomas, C.; Cadwell, W.; Richardson, M.; Johnson, G.; Carey, M.; Clemens, H.; Pruitt, E.