Army veteran Chad Hamrick has enjoyed skiing throughout his life. But he really wanted to give snowboarding a shot, “to relate to my teenage sons who board.” He had a chance to learn and connect with other injured veterans at nonprofit Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center as part of a day organized by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP).
Warriors were paired with ski and snowboarding instructors for one-on-one learning. The instructors were attentive to the warriors’ injuries and offered adaptive options.
“I have back issues from an IED blast and am not particularly comfortable in crowded places,” Chad said. “I wore a back brace, and the instructor was very educated on techniques that took stress off my back. We also had head-of-line privileges that reduced the amount of time spent in lift line crowds.”
“The camaraderie with the other warriors is what I always enjoy most about Wounded Warrior Project events I attend. All of the attendees were fellow warriors I had never met before, but I quickly discovered something in common with each of them – and had been ‘in the same sand’ with many,” Chad said.
Warriors spent a day learning their choice of skiing or snowboarding. They were provided gear and lift tickets for the mountain, and chatted and traded stories over lunch and dinner. They also heard about WWP programs and services and established new connections.
“We exchanged cards and numbers to keep in touch, network, and support each other in the near future,” Chad said. “Wounded Warrior Project really put on a very therapeutic event, and they did an amazing job with communication and logistical work for us to have a lasting memory.”
In a WWP survey of the wounded warriors it serves, more than half of survey respondents (52.6%) expressed that they talk with fellow veterans to address their mental health concerns, and 32.6% indicated physical activity helps.
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more at www.woundedwarriorproject.org.
Source: Wounded Warrior Project