Craig Walker of the Denver Post published a photojournal article on Marine Scott Ostrom’s plight in recovering from PTSD. A link to that photoessay is below.
Scott is one of the Marines that the Sierra Club took back to Washington for a week last September along with Chris Fesmire (no legs) and his service dog and Therapist Emily Potter from the SLC VA to speak to senators and congressmen about the benefits of the outdoor adventure, about the raft trip last July.
Scott is also the subject of my last paragraph in the Speech Notes, the Marine that called to thank me last January.
Yesterday Craig Walker was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for that article!! Quite a ceremony, Scott spoke, Craig spoke, the Governor and other dignitaries were there. Regards,
Craig F. Walker, Denver Post photographer, wins Pulitzer for images of veteran with PTSD: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_20411409/denver-post-photographer-wins-pulitzer-images-veteran-ptsd
The Story of Scott Ostrom: http://photos.denverpost.com/mediacenter/2011/12/special-project-welcome-home-2/26794/
Things are shaping up quite rapidly. The Manifests are getting full.
Looks like we’ll have Army Major General Joe Arbuckle (retired) on board the July 2 trip!! It will be great to have a senior officer accompany us.
Also I think Matthew Pennington and his producer (www.aMarinesGuide.com) will come out from Maine, and USAF lieutenant Kerry Conway (in a wheel chair) and her service dog Buster may come out from New Hampshire, for the June 18 launch.
And a WW from Wyoming (6” shrapnel through the upper chest from a vehicle IED, PTSD) may come with his 14 year old daughter.
The Salt Lake VA is gearing up with 4 therapists and 12 WWs (might go to 14 WWs) for the U. Michigan study on the June 18 launch.
I expect about 5 WWs out of the Cheyenne VA Hospital. Sergeant Sanchez has 9 WWs for the July 2 launch, wants to add 4 more. Some will be reunited with and accompanied by buddies with whom they served.
And I believe that Mark Litynski and his wife will be on the June 18 launch. Mark was the inspiration on NPR that got this whole effort going and flowing.
The evolution of this effort and mention of some of the great sup- porters that have come forth are in the attached speech notes from last Saturday night.
The river and my pulse are rising…!!
The snow is melting, the river is rising. The river gear is starting to spill out onto my driveway and front yard.
I opened the manifests for whitewater trip sign-ups about 2 weeks ago. We already have 21 tenta- tive participants on the June 18 launch, and 17 on the July 2 launch date! Each trip will accommodate 24. Some of the Wounded Warriors are being joined by, reunited with, the buddies with whom they served. Should be very healing.
Mark Litynski, the young combat soldier/Wounded Warrior that sparked this entire river trip effort with his inspiring NPR interview at Vail last year (skiing just 3 months after having lost both legs and lower left arm, was very upbeat and forward looking), may be able to come out from Walter Reed this year.
The Salt Lake VA Hospital is planning to send 4 therapists and 12 Wounded Warriors on a Sierra Club funded study under the auspices of the University of Michigan to assess the benefits of the whitewater experience and the community of comrades that is spawned out of the trip. And to see what we might do better, what we are doing wrong. Last year’s participants are now communicating via email, FaceBook, telephone, joining in outdoor activities together such as skiing, rock climbing. This bonding is no doubt of higher and more lasting value than the underlying raft trip.
Wounded Warrior Matthew Pennington and Nicholas Brennan who produced the short film “Marine’s Guide to Fishing” about Matthew’s difficulty in reintegrat- ing may be joining us from Maine. There is a trailer of this short film on the internet, http://amarines- guide.com/.
I decided to try to include in- jured NATO combat soldiers from Operation Iraqi Freedom/ Operation Enduring Freedom this year. The German Embassy called yesterday, are looking into getting several of their OIF/OEF wounded combat soldiers on to one of the trips. And the Royal British Legion, the United Kingdom’s group that supports their disabled vets, and the Royal Canadian Legion are also exploring if they might send several of their disabled veterans.
Should be a great summer!!
Best regards, thanks for all of your support.