OUR HISTORY

Serving Veterans Since 1942

2023

Vietnam Veteran and PBA Legend Johnny Petraglia marks his 50th year in support of BVL. Petraglia, who served in the Army from 1967-68, has been a spokesperson for five decades.

2022

BVL celebrated 80 years of service to veterans and awarded the largest donation in the organization’s history, a $500,000 grant to be split between two national veterans programs – VET CENTER and the National Association of State Veterans Homes (NASVH).

Johnny Petraglia signed bowling ball

2019

 It took five months and five million steps for David “Kilroy” Kellerman to complete the largest individual fundraiser in BVL history. Kellerman took off nearly six months from his center, Mel’s Lone Star Lanes in Georgetown, Texas, to complete the 2,192-mile hike through the Appalachian Trail, raising more than $100,000 for BVL.

2015

Hundreds of portable lane kits are sent to men and women overseas as part of Bowlers Salute America’s Troops program.

2007

BVL accepted as an Associate Member of the National Veterans Day Committee, a group of prominent veterans organizations who plan and participate in the National Veterans Day Ceremony each year at Arlington National Cemetery. BVL board members, representing America’s bowlers, lay a wreath at the annual memorial services at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

1998

The BVL Fund becomes the Bowlers to Veterans Link. The new name is to signify the inextricable link between bowlers and the well-being of America’s veterans.

1992

Earl Anthony is named Honorary Co-Chair of BVL and spends the next year traveling with Helen Duval, running bowling clinics in VA hospitals all over the country.

BVL celebrates its 50th Anniversary.

1986

For the first time, BVL raises one million dollars during an annual campaign.

Johnny Petraglia signed bowling ball

1972

Bowlers Victory Legion becomes The BVL Fund. Bowling legend Helen Duval begins to travel all over the country for BVL teaching bowling to hospitalized veterans. She will teach thousands the benefits of her sport for more than 25 years.

1967

BVL increases its commitment to veterans of Vietnam conflict, providing $25,000 to Army hospitals for soldiers waiting transfer to Veterans Administration hospitals.

1955

BVL receives Outstanding Service Award from the Blinded Veterans Associations.

1952

Veterans Administration awards BVL the first ever Certificate of Appreciation.

1947

The first BVL tournament, a bowling competition among VA hospitals, was held with President Truman awarding trophies to the winners.

1942-45

Members of the Women’s International Bowling Congress purchased medical rescue planes to bring home wounded soldiers from World War II. American Bowling Congress members provided comfort kits to hundreds of thousands of soldiers.

1942

BVL was originally founded by the women’s bowling association as Bowlers Victory Legion – with a commitment to support veterans and active-duty military. The original creed included this promise: “Our debt to them is profound. The least they might expect is that all of us accomplish everything within our means to restore them to normal existences. Neither must we forget those now fighting for the same cause.”