Nearly 400 disabled veterans are in the valley this week, participating in the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic.
The program runs Monday, March 31, through Friday, April 4, and is sponsored by the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) with financial assistance from corporate sponsors and individual donors. It gives current and past servicemen and women with traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic amputations, visual impairments, certain neurological conditions and other disabilities a chance to take to the slopes.
Clinic participants get downhill and cross country ski lessons, a challenge race, as well as adaptive sports workshops and educational classes.
In addition to various winter activities, participants will stop by the Glenwood Hot Springs throughout the week. Scuba diving, sled hockey, climbing and snowmobiling are also on the itinerary. Their trip downvalley comes with a lunch courtesy of the Glenwood Springs Elks Lodge. The Elks previously sponsored a shooting event for the veterans, which was shut down two years ago when the Department of Veterans Affairs nixed programs with live ammunition. Volunteers are welcome to stop by at 11 a.m. to help out and meet the vets.
Korean War veteran Anthony “Tony” Bryant chose to relax beside the pool on Monday, citing a slight cold that kept him from soaking. He didn’t seem to mind, though — he’s done it all before.
“I’ve been with the group a long time,” he said, “I told ’em I’d never skied, but they talked me into it, and I’ve been coming ever since.” Bryant said the best part of the clinic is the people. “We have very good volunteers,” he observed.