I thought today would be a great day to highlight a project that has been around for a few years, and something with which we have participated proudly. The following text was taken from a photo album (book) that was gifted to us as one of many contributors. It is so rewarding to see the difference these trips make to those who truly have given something very personal to the protection of our country. Thanks to all Veterans everywhere, especially on this Veteran’s Day dedicated to them.
Over the past four years we have carried out nine 4-day whitewater rafting trips through Canyonlands National Park on the Colorado River, two 3-day ski camps at Steamboat Springs, and two 4-day Mountain Camps north of Steamboat Springs. The benefits to the Wounded Warriors have been splendid, as reflected in the comment on our website that are written at the end of each of these camps. Thanks to the help and support of our monetary and in-kind contributors and the support of the VA therapists, we are slowly growing in our ability to serve and help heal our disabled veterans and help to bring them the rest of the way home.
This photo album has been created as remembrance of events we have underwritten and organized for our Wounded Warriors. This year included a ski camp, four whitewater raft trips, and a mountain camp of groups of Wounded Warriors, their families and service dogs, and their therapists. One of the more spectacular river trips was all women, including the support crew and 5 of th 7 commercial guides. Because of the great benefit realized on the women’s raft trip, the Mountain Camp was also reserved for women only. This album commemorates the tremendous dedication and sacrifice made by these men and women in military service for their country, and the effort it now takes for them to re-integrate into and participate in civilian life. Reflected in the faces portrayed in this album is a renewed sense of adventure, happiness, hope, and trust that life can again become meaningful and worthwhile in new and unforeseen ways.
The benefits of this outdoor experience far exceed that these pictures and portray. Each of us who has been a part of these efforts has been deeply touched by seeing the smiles and hearing the laughter, witnessing the relaxed and social interactions of the participants, seeing the progress and opening up as the trip progresses, witnessing the bonding and mutual support that evolves, reading comments written by the participants at the last camps, receiving the follow-on emails, and seeing the Facebook commerce. The bonding and friendship and camaraderie and support that are spawned on these trips continue long after the trips and camps through email and other contacts and activities. No one can understand the struggles of a combat veteran better than another combat veteran, especially those suffering from physical and other deep wounds. These outdoor activities with their buddies offer an effective setting for these interactions.
We have had participants wean themselves of VA-prescribed opiates and powerful antipsychotic and other drugs as well as alcohol and other abused substances. We have had no suicides among the participants and no divorces.
This album is presented to each participant as a memory of the good times shared that they can hearken back to in the future. It is also offered to all contributors and supporters of our enterprise in gratitude for their contributions and support without which this effort would not have been possible. We have been gratified to see people step forward and contribute in a big way, in some cases coming forth because they heard about the work being done and wanted to support aspects of the trip. The guides and staff have been outstanding and have evoked high praise from the participants. To the participants, I am very glad you came along. I am happy you could make it and share these experiences with other soldiers.I am gratified to see the bonding, healing, and mutual support that grows out of these adventures.
To the contributors, thank you for supporting what is evolving into very effective adventures that help to heal those who served our nation at great personal cost.
Warriors on Cataract