WINDHAM, New York ??вЂќ It’s a long way home when you’ve lost a limb in a faraway land. Even when you’re battling for your country. It’s also the end of life as you’ve known it.
But it’s not, by any means, the end of life.
And that’s precisely why the Adaptive Sports Foundation at Windham Mountain will be teaching a group of wounded soldiers, disabled during their recent tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, to ski.
For three days, February 4-6, 2005, ten amputee Army and National Guard soldiers, currently in rehabilitation programs at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, will come to Windham Mountain to enjoy some well earned “R&R” – and to learn to ski.
The Adaptive Sports Foundation (ASF), the largest adaptive sports program on the east coast and one of the leading adaptive sport programs in the country, is partnering with Disabled Sports USA and the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) to bring the disabled soldiers to Windham Mountain. The soldiers will be taught by ASF’s highly trained volunteer ski instructors, two of whom are disabled Vietnam War veterans.
To make this event possible, ASF has solicited enough donations from individuals, community organizations and corporations to underwrite the entire cost. The participating soldiers will not have to pay for anything. Participants will fly from Baltimore to Albany, “bunk” in luxury condo suites at the Winwood Inn located on Main Street in Windham, and ski for three days. They’ll also be afforded plenty of time to experience the apr??s ski social scene at Windham Mountain.
In addition, ASF will present several educational programs designed to inform the soldiers about prosthetic options and other adaptive sport resources, such as fitness programs and athletic opportunities for amputees.
“Windham Mountain is proud to be able to provide these disabled soldiers with a weekend of fun and relaxation,” says Dan Frank, president of the resort. “To be able to give something back to these young men who have made such a sacrifice for our country and our freedom is truly an honor.”
Adds Cherisse Young, ASF executive director, “It’s heartwarming to see the outpouring of support we’ve received in response to this event. The community has really gotten behind us to make sure we provide these soldiers with the best of everything. Opportunities such as this ski trip are so important to these individuals, who have suffered such a traumatic event. Our hope is that we can open up the world of adaptive sports so they realize that they can still do anything they want.”
Sponsors of ASF’s “Support Our Soldiers” weekend are Windham Mountain, Disabled Sports USA, FDNY, VFW Post of Red Hook, EDD Memorial Fund and the Colonie-Guilderland Rotary.
The Adaptive Sports Foundation is a non-profit organization that annually serves more than 1,300 special needs individuals and conducts more than 2,800 ski lessons. More than 180 volunteer instructors work in conjunction with six full-time staff members, two seasonal staff members and nine PSIA-E Educational Staff members on its training staff. The organization is a PSIA/AASI member ski school, an official Red Cross Provider, and a chapter of Disabled Sports USA.