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Posted on Jun 24, 2012 in Newsletters | 0 comments

Newsletter #14

Newsletter #14

Greetings, all,

The June 18-21 trip was a great time, even though there was not much water in the Colorado River, a 100 year low flow.

The tri-amputee person that sparked the idea for these raft trips, Mark Litynski, was able to come from Walter Reed (Bethesda) with his wife Heather. He is more than I had imagined. Very much an inspiration.

Two wheel chairs, two service dogs that had PFDs so they could swim with their WW.

Stacy Bare of the Sierra Club brought a film crew that will have a presentation on Public Broadcast Television in August. I’ll send out the date and time when I get it.

The three Brits had a great time, and were a great addition to the trip, made a lot of friends (including some local girls in Boulder and in Moab).

Some of the comments that have come in to date are below.

The Moab Times-Independent ran an article on the WW effort in last week’s publication. Here is the link…

http://www.moabtimes.com/view/full_story/19063319/article-Wounded-Warriors–Cataract-Canyon-raft-trips-help-wounded-veterans-feel-connected?

The second trip of this year launches on July 2, next Monday. As I mentioned before, we will have a father-son WW team (Viet Nam and OEF/OIF), a retired Major General and his daughter who is also a military casualty, a dozen from the Denver Marine Wounded Warrior Regiment, 7 from the Cheyenne VA Hospital, and 88 year old Marine Iron Mike Mervosh, a legend among Marines.

http://www.goldengatewing.org/proptalk/speaker.cfm?ID=133

Teamwork picture attached… and some whitewater adventure…

Thanks for all of your support.

Best regards,

Fred

 

Comments from the 2012 Wounded Warrior Cataract Raft Trips.

From one of the therapists:

Miracles happen on the river. New perspectives, greater vision for life goals, a chance to discover new sprouts of hope within.  …able to link their new commitment to life specifically to this trip down Cataract Canyon.

From the participants:

Personally, I have had a life changing experience and plan to use the trek as a springboard for the future.

This is the best trip I’ve ever been on.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to spend time with such amazing people and other veterans.  ..the guides were incredible and the scenery was like nothing I have ever seen. We have made some amazing friends, which will be life long.

The stars are amazing!!  I think this is a great therapeutic tool for vets.

Wanting to heal. Needing to heal.. Tired and worn down from by not healing.

I have been very pleased to watch the veterans with us who live with obvious physical disabilities every day, to be able to witness their drive and determination to get out and enjoy life the best they can demonstrates to me they still have the “Warrior Spirit.”

 Awesome guides, awesome people – awesome rapids and beauty.

 From the guides and swampers:

These Wounded Warriors are my heroes – inspiring – uplifting – as they share their stories – strength and hope, it becomes clear that the human spirit will survive.

I think every TAG Cataract guide wants to be a part of this trip because we so appreciate the sacrifices these men and women have made the USA and the World a better place.

 
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Posted on Jun 13, 2012 in Newsletters | 0 comments

Newsletter #13

Newsletter #13

Newsletter #13

The 4 day raft trip we do is a nice excursion with some excitement, and more importantly, spawns a support and social group among the Wounded Warriors. But it lacks the physical/mental challenge I want for these guys that they can accomplish with some effort, get the morale boost out of overcoming the difficulty, and downplay their disabilities. I was also looking for year-round activities so in mid-winter when the raft trip is a fading memory, they have another activity to keep up the recovery momentum.

So I had talked with Billy Kidd of Steamboat Ski Area about skiing for the Wounded Warriors – it seems like a natural dovetail to the raft trip. Billy got me connected with Julie Taulman, Executive Director of the Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports (STARS). They teach the disabled to ski, including physical disabilities and PTSD/TBI.

Great news! She is welcoming having WWs in a multi-day program in mid-January with everything covered: lodging, dinners, lift tickets, ski equipment, and ski clothing if needed.

I’ll start signing up the WWs for this ski camp.

Best regards to all you contributors.

Fred

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Posted on Jun 5, 2012 in Newsletters | 0 comments

Newsletter #12

Newsletter #12

Greetings, All,

We are rapidly approaching the launch dates for the two whitewater trips this summer. We are fully booked and had to turn away a number of interested Wounded Warriors. This year’s participants are largely out of the Salt Lake and Cheyenne VA Hospitals and the Marine Wounded Warrior Battalion out of the Denver area. We will also have a Major General retired and his daughter (also a military casualty), a father-son team (both Wounded Warriors, father was shot down as a SkyCrane pilot in Viet Nam), and several Marine Wounded Warriors that served together in Afghanistan. Three disabled Brits from the recent Middle East conflicts are coming for the first trip. We are working on getting Marine “Iron Mike” Mervosh on the second trip. Iron Mike is 88 years old, served an impressive career in WW II in the Pacific, Korea, and Viet Nam and is a hero among Marines.

The first trip will include 13 Wounded Warriors and three VA therapists from the Salt Lake VA Hospital in a Sierra-Club sponsored University of Michigan study to assess the benefits of these whitewater trips. We should learn quite a bit, and be able more clearly to assess we are doing, what we could do better, what we are doing wrong.

The water flow will be low but the beaches will be wide. And we will get stuck on sandbars, but the Warriors are trained to act as a team, so we will easily get unstuck. The Big Drop Rapids are still formidable. Our last camp will be on Lake Powell.

On the two evenings before the launches, following a briefing and gear issue by Tag-A-Long and a talk by a National Park Service Ranger, the Moab VFW Post 10900 will conduct BBQs at the motels. These social/mixers will hopefully be a start of the bonding and support group that we saw was spawned out of last year’s trip. There will also be farewell BBQs by the VFW on the evenings after we get off the river. This is an opportunity for all to share email addresses and contact points.

Stacy Bare, Military Families and Veterans Representative of Mission Outdoors of the Sierra Club, will be on the first trip with a camera crew of two. The Sierra Club is supporting these trips with some funding.

Thanks for all of your support. This program is growing in a very nice direction.

Regards,

Fred


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