Feature Article - April 2011
Find a printable version here

Marching Ahead

The Connection Between Recreation & Quality of Life

By Rick Dandes


What Can You Do?

Everyone together has to honor our soldiers, both active and veteran.

"It is safe to say that we would love to see veterans participating in things like an inclusive recreation course," Bradner said. "In most communities where there is a large military population, we have community support coordinators that reach out to organizations and ask them for help. We show them how they can partner and help veterans."

If there is a community recreation center or a privately owned gym that wants to do something, first step is to go to Army One Source and find out if there is a community support coordinator near them. Pick up the phone and talk to that person. Visit your local VA hospital and say, "How can I help?"

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs itself runs several laudable programs.

One of those is the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic, now in its 25th year. The Clinic got started because one recreation therapist from the Grand Junction, Colorado, V.A. Medical Center took one disabled veteran skiing. Santo (Sandy) Trombetta, the event founder and director, saw the dramatic impact that this ski trip had on this veteran and was determined to do more.

The very first National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic was held in 1987 at Powderhorn Resort in Colorado outside of Grand Junction with 87 disabled veterans.

This past March there were more than 400 registered to participate, with military service spanning from World War II to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Participation in the clinic is open to U.S. military veterans with qualifying disabilities such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic amputations, visual impairments, certain neurological conditions and other disabilities. At the clinic, all participants develop winter sports skills and take part in a variety of workshops and educational sessions that will positively impact their rehabilitative journey and readjustment in their communities.