KEYSTONE, Colo. (CBS4)– Some deserving military veterans are on the slopes at Keystone Ski Resort this week. Colorado coaches, volunteers and even fellow veterans are making sure they have an opportunity to come to places like Keystone for a day of recovery through sport.
The Keystone Adaptive Center, a program of the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center, welcomed 60 ski and riders for lessons on Wednesday. They also extended the invitation to families of Team Semper Fi. It’s part of the BOEC’s Heroic Military Program Wednesday.
The Heroic Military Program is designed for men and women who serve our country and are now faced with the challenge of living with a disability. The program also welcomes family members to participate, as they are also deeply affected by the tragedy and are a critical part of the healing process.
Veteran Stephan Wright served in the Marines in Afghanistan in 2012. Once he left service, he had a difficult time dealing with what he saw on the battlefield.
“I got out of the Marine Corps and I was lost for a few years until I found that about them,” Wright says.
Now Wright is carving up the slopes at keystone alongside his adaptive coaches and fellow veterans.
“They bring tons of other veterans people that have went through the same thing one thing we lose after the Marine Corps is that camaraderie that brotherhood,” Wright added.
The program brings together adaptive coaches from across Colorado, including Aspen-based coach Keith Gabel.
“No, I don’t know exactly what they’re going through I can relate at some level coming out here, having a disability, showing them what is possible on a snowboard. It’s a tremendous honor to be able to share that experience with them,” Gabel told CBS4.
“There’s no other therapy like being out here in the outdoors of Colorado,” Wright added.
The staff and volunteers from the Keystone Adaptive Center and the BOEC will come together to provide group lessons for beginner to advanced skiers and riders in a variety of disciplines, including two-track, four-track, ski bike, snowboard, mono, and bi ski lessons. This is also an important opportunity for Team Semper Fi members to connect with one another and share similar experiences on and off the slopes.
“This is a great partnership between Team Semper Fi and the BOEC,” said Jeff Inouye, Director of the BOEC Adaptive Ski & Ride Program. “We cherish the opportunity to help them not only build relationships with fellow disabled military folks, but to help their families get out and enjoy themselves on the slopes.”
LINK: BOEC’s Military Program