04 March, 2006

Wounded Warriors on Skis

It's Vail Veterans Week on the ski slopes of Colorado, a program that is bringing severely wounded veterans to Vail for three days of skiing. For example, Veteran Joe Worley is skiing "black diamond" runs despite the loss of a leg:

Worley, 24, a Naval petty officer third class from Dallas, Ga., skis in a sit ski with two outrigger poles.

Adaptive sports are an important part of an amputee veteran's recovery, Worley said.

"This is something that definitely is needed to help veterans and wounded to help get them integrated back into normal life," he said.
A companion article describes the experience of a newly-blinded veteran who is also learning to ski:
Scott Smiley has learned many things over again since April 10, when a suicide blast in Iraq sent shrapnel into his brain and left him blind.

He has learned to walk again. He has learned to read again. He's learned to use a computer again, and how to wash dishes.

This week, he's skiing again.
These wounded warriors with indomitable spirits are discovering that they are only as limited by injuries as they allow themselves to be.

For many veterans, Valour-IT has served a similar role--helping them see early in their recovery process that despite their injuires they can continue to be active and engaged in their world. But right now, Valour-IT is out of money. At this time we literally can't fund additional voice-activated laptops for those who cannot use a keyboard due to their injuries. We need your help. Please support this program that helps restore a sense of wholeness and independence to those who have given us so much.