|Todd Munn (in red shirt, far right) greets wounded veterans |
alongside the Connecticut River.
Hosted by the Gaylord Hospital Sports Association and Disabled Sports USA, the organizers effortlessly solved one of the critical challenges of facilitating an event - perfect weather! Warm, dry and sunny weather is forecast for all three days, in which 26 veterans with permanent disabilities enjoy a free weekend of kayaking, cycling, rowing, fishing, and adventure programming. The event is being held at Riverside Park, a beautiful, accessible location and part of an extensive and impression rehabilitation of Hartford's riverside by Riverfront Recapture over the past 3 decades - a perfect setting for personal rehabilitation as well!
|Ralph demonstrates a paddling adaptation designed for |
people with quadriplegia and hemiplegia.
Most of the veterans present are from Connecticut and Massachusetts, and I met two of them over at the rock climbing wall. Lisa Boudreau and Ernest Johnson III were part of a small group learning climbing techniques. Lisa had rappelled from helicopters while in the Army, but never climbed before, and tackled the wall with high spirits. EJ, who recently served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, made the climb look easy. "This is my third Wounded War Project event, " he said flashing a big grin, "and I'll definitely be back for more!"
|Ernest Thompson III scales the wall!|
After seeing this well-organized event, I hope more veterans will take advantage of such opportunities. Wounded Warrior Disabled Sports Project events are on the rise in New England according to other event organizers. Stop by Riverside Park this weekend to catch a glimpse of this year's event or contact Todd Munn at tmunn@gaylord to sign up for next year's in Hartford.
Other upcoming veterans events include a WWP event on Cape Cod, September 17-19 with camping at Shawme Crowell State Park and a similar array of recreation activities, hosted by CAPEAble Adventures. For a single day experience, come to Blue Hills State Reservation in Milton, MA on Saturday, September 25. DCR and the Department of Veteran's Services are hosting a day of various activities including hiking, geocaching, and fly-fishing demonstrations. For more information on the September 19 program, contact Gigi Ranno at 617-626-1294.