Vail Veterans Program to host 16 wounded warriors June 20-24 in Vail Valley
The Vail Veterans Program and its sponsors will host its summer event this week. From Wednesday, July 20 to Sunday, July 24, 16 wounded warriors and their families will participate in three days of outdoor recreational activities in the Rocky Mountains, including fly fishing, river rafting, horseback riding, zip lining, kayaking, and biking. This year is the fifth anniversary of the Vail Veterans Program's summer event.
The Vail Veteran's Program is a Colorado nonprofit providing rehabilitative sport programs to recently wounded United States military personnel who have been severely injured while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Wounded warriors and their families are provided, free of charge, the opportunity to spend time together away from the hospital. Through summer and winter recreational activities the Vail Veterans Program helps to rebuild wounded warriors' confidence and give hope for the future.
Of the sixteen veterans attending, half have been injured within the last year. “We've witnessed an increase in the number of wounded warriors and their levels of injury over the past couple of years,” says Harvey Naranjo, an occupational therapist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. “Vets are returning with multiple limb losses and secondary medical issues.”
One warrior, who is a double above the knee amputee, shared his goals for the upcoming program, “I hope to have fun, relax, and learn how to do different activities with my injury.” The upcoming four day summer program will offer men and woman who have been severely wounded the opportunity to reconnect with family and to reestablish physical function and self-esteem.
Wounded warriors and their families who have attended past events, including winter skiing and snowboarding, have expressed thanks for “saving their soul”, renewed spirit for living, newfound freedom from life altering injuries, raised confidence, regained courage, and family healing and bonding. Volunteers are awestruck by the resilience of human spirit and enlightened to the deep and painful sacrifices our warriors and their families make on behalf of our country. Everyone leaves inspired with the knowledge and spirit that they can tackle anything.
The program is made possible by generous individual donors as well as organizations such as Wounded Warrior Project, Frontier Airlines, Vail Resorts Echo, and many Vail businesses. Cheryl Jensen, the Vail Veterans Program founder and executive director, commented, “We've been able to share the program with more than 400 wounded warriors since starting in 2004. It is a tremendous opportunity for the community far and wide to extend its gratitude for those who've selflessly served our country.”
For more information about the Vail Veterans Program, visit www.vailveteransprogram.com.
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