Greetings to all of you supporters,
This is a long newsletter, but I have a lot of good news since our last newsletter. If you have not followed us and want to catch up, visit our web site www.WarriorsOnCataract.org or see us on Facebook, Warriors On Cataract.
Last year’s two whitewater trips went well, even though there was not much water in the river. On the plus side, the beaches were wide and the water was warm. So we (and the 4 service dogs) spent a lot of time floating and swimming. The meals were excellent as usual, (capon cordon bleu, steaks, omlettes to order, cowboy coffee, the guides even set a banquet table at Rapid 10), the guides were excellent, the camps great. All went well. The Warriors spent a lot of beach time sharing experiences and bonding up late into the night under the clear skies and billions of stars. The National Park, as usual, was spectacular.
Three therapists from the Salt Lake VA, under the sponsorship of the Sierra Club, brought 13 Wounded Warriors were on one of the trips. This was in a University of Michigan study to assess the benefits of this outdoor activity and to determine its longevity, how it persists (ahd hopefully, what we might do to enhance the benefits). The study is ongoing, so the results are not yet published.
The Moab VFW provided a BBQ dinner before and after the trips at the Aarchway Motel (furnished by Mike Bynum) and the Canyonlands Best Western (furnished by Zach Bynum). Monogrammed boonie hats were furnished by Atlanco, and 120 excellent photo albums were furnished by CDS Publications of Oregon. Estey Printing printed collages, thank you notes, and an array of business cards, brochures, and other material. Cabelas furnshed doggie life preservers so the Warriors could swim with their service dogs. Johnson Water Sports furnished great life jackets. Home Depot furnished water coolers, umbrellas, chairs, much more. The list goes on.
We had three British Royal Marines over to join us. They are all actors in the highly acclaimed play “The Worlds of Charlie F.” There is a link to that play in a previous newsletter on our web site. They stayed with me in Boulder for a few days, but two of them didn’t come home at night. Turns out that local girls took a liking to them …………….I think it’s that British accent.
If you missed it, one of last summer’s raft trip was on Public Broadcast Television last Fall. There is a link to that segment on our Facebook.
We will be skiing about 20 to 25 Wounded Warriors, caregivers, and spouses in a 3 day ski camp January 26-28. Accommodations will be at the base of the ski area, most meals will be furnished. The Rio Grand Restaurant is furnishing dinner on one night, and we will ride the gondola to the top of Mount Werner and watch the sunset and dine in a restaurant there. The STARS program is sponsoring us, and can accommodate most any level of disability, including monoskis. Skiing is a physical that will build morale and self-esteem, as well as being a very good social sport. And it is opposite on the calendar from the raft trips, and will help to keep up the momentum of healing and reintegration. Mark Litynski, the Marine who inspired the spawning of Warriors On Cataract, will fly in to sky with us, as will Billy Kidd. Mike Bye, the Steamboat Ski Area staff photog/videographer will shoot the event and it will go up on national news feeds.
We will launch the whitewater trips on the Colorado River through Canyonlands National Park, Moab to Lake Powell, on June 6 and June 13, 4 days and 25 Warriors on each trip. We learned quite a bit last year, and spent some time among us organizers analyzing what we did right and what we did wrong. So we have directives on what we want to do better.
Colin Fryer of the Red Cliffs Inn has asked us to bunk in at his lodge at the end of the two trips. An extremely wonderful setting on the Colorado River a bit upstream of Moab in Castle Valley; be sure to check out their web site, http://www.redcliffslodge.com/
An advance warning, I will be sending out letters asking for continued support. I can’t thank you enough for your past support. From the comments of the Warriors and the Facebook and email traffic, I feel we are doing a great measure of good for these Warriors, more than I had imagined, although I wish we could broaden and enlist more Warriors. If you don’t get a letter, feel free anyway…………27 year old 501(c)3 Outdoor Buddies is handling all of our finances.