Upon returning home from Iraq in 2005, I was largely disengaged from my pre-deployment life. Friends and family became foreign to me and the only time I truly felt at ease was in the company of my fellow servicemembers.
The National Disabled Veteran Winter Sports Clinic was established 25 years ago in an effort to combat that common feeling among disabled Vets. This year, Snowmass Village, Colorado welcomed over 300 disabled Veterans to test their skills on and off the slopes and build camaraderie during the weeklong clinic.
Veterans with disabilities, ranging from traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries to orthopedic amputations, tackled downhill and cross-country skiing, firing at the rifle range, and snowmobiling. Aside from overcoming physical challenges, Vets took part in developing lifestyle skills. They focused on personal rehabilitation and shared tips on how to reintegrate back into society.
What the Winter Sports Clinic really offered was a chance for Vets to bond. Events like this allow Vets a chance to reminisce and encourage one another to overcome obstacles faced both on the slopes and the civilian world.
While the clinic concluded on April 1, the video above offers a glimpse at the power of collective rehabilitation.
Native Americans serve in the military in numbers far higher than their proportion of the U.S. population. They've served with distinction in every major conflict for over 200 years. To honor their legacy of service and their culture, the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) works with tribes to honor their service and heritage, working together to build and maintain tribal Veterans cemeteries—cemeteries built and maintained by tribes with support from VA.
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