In This Issue: VA Medical Center Lunch Retreat at Renewal Coalition; National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic; Scuba Program; Handcycling
Latest News

WE HELP ONE VETERAN AT A TIME

Veterans Adaptive Sports (VAS) celebrates its 7th year supporting disabled veterans. Our mission continues: to promote rehabilitation of disabled military service veterans through adaptive sports serving our veterans with spinal cord injuries, orthopedic amputations, visual impairments and neurological injuries.

VAS is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, quite small in contrast to others you might hear about and is a completely volunteer organization designed to direct your donations to our services, not to advertising, overhead or administration. We do not distinguish between gender, what era our veterans served or whether the injuries were incurred in combat. We help all the severely disabled that we can reach, One Veteran At A Time. Help us make a difference by visiting our website at www.veteransadaptivesports.com.

Director Bobby Symonds and Co-Founder Doug Tuttle

Director Bobby Symonds and Co-Founder Doug Tuttle

We are always trying to reach out and help more disabled veterans using our current veterans to mentor the new ones. We are now in this process of establishing a Veterans Adaptive Sports Chapter in Tampa FL, home of MacDill Air Force Base, CENTCOM, the Tampa VA Medical Center and a large population of veterans. Heading up this effort will be Dennis Mullins, a career employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs spending most of his years as a therapist and later Clinical Manager of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service. He continues to volunteer with the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic and summer games. We now have established adaptive programs and protocols and look forward to working with Dennis to extend those programs to more deserving disabled veterans.

This has been a very busy year and we want to let you know what we doing. And what we have accomplished.

  • Completed our two annual ski programs in Telluride and Snowmass CO.
  • Received another grant (4 years and still going) through the Honda Classic and United Technologies for adaptive golf administered by the First Tee Palm Beaches.
  • Introduced a new hand-cycle biking event held in Moab UT.
  • Continued our successful monthly scuba diving program with Veterans Ocean Adventures (3 years and going)
  • Held our 3rd annual scuba summer camp in Key Largo FL.
  • Helped serve over 200 disabled veterans from Palm Beach VA Medical Center through the VA Lunch Retreat program hosted by Renewal Coalition at their scenic Loxahatchee River location.
  • Sponsored 2 disabled veterans in high level adaptive ski competition.

Telluride Winter Ski Trip 2017

We began our 2017 season with our annual Telluride CO ski week February 4-11. Each year we assemble our disabled veterans team reaching out to those who are in need to build their self-confidence, esteem and encourage healthy lifestyles. We are proud to once again work with TASP (Telluride Adaptive Sports Program) who provide the adaptive ski equipment, lessons and volunteers.

VAS Skiers and Family with TASP Instructors and Volunteers 2017

VAS Skiers and Family with TASP Instructors and Volunteers 2017

National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic, Snowmass CO 2017

Each year VAS supports the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic (WSC) by helping disabled veterans in need with the costs to attend. Snowmass Colorado again hosted this event on March 26th - April 1st. This event is a world leader in adaptive winter sport instruction for U.S. military veterans and active duty servicemen and women with disabilities. The WSC allows our veterans to pack more miracles into the weeklong, life-changing event than they ever dreamed of. They are reminded of the wonder and achievement life still has to offer, despite their profound disabilities. Attendance has averaged over 400 disabled veterans each year!

VAS Adaptive Skiers Competing at Snowmass CO 2017

VAS Adaptive Skiers Competing at Snowmass CO 2017

Adaptive Scuba Diving Program

Our 3rd Annual Summer Scuba Camp for new and experienced adaptive divers was held at Key Largo FL on June 24-25 where we had two dive boats for two days with over 40 disabled veterans and Buddy Divers participating. Adaptive divers must stay in shape to qualify for this program which is central to the VAS mission so disabled veterans can maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Adaptive scuba diving has become a main stay for our disabled veterans and has attracted new participants each year. We continually certify these new divers who then qualify to become part of our Scuba Program. We have partnered with Veterans Ocean Adventures (VOA) who train Buddy Divers to support the disabled diver and coordinate dive boat logistics here in South Florida. As always, we thank our event coordinator Chuck Kays who organizes everything from accommodations, dive boats and good comfort foods.

VAS Adaptive Scuba Divers, Key Largo 2017

VAS Adaptive Scuba Divers, Key Largo 2017

VAS Adaptive Scuba Divers, Key Largo 2017

New Handcycling Program

Handcycling enables our disabled veterans to stay fit all year round. We encourage this on a recreational basis and for some, set their goals to compete. To further motivate our disabled veterans, we have staged our first handcycling trip to Moab, Utah May 24-26. The Moab region is located in Eastern Utah and is surrounded by large red rock desert and landscape. The cyclists using hand cycles and tandem bicycles toured the vast network of trails that Moab contains and also venture into the Canyonland National Park. This is where the challenges are which were met with determination and success by our cyclists.

Josh Sharpe – Recreation to Competition

VAS Adaptive Cycling Moab UT 2017

Josh Sharpe – Recreation to Competition

Competitive Adaptive Sports Program

We have reported on the quest by our Dave Williams (pictured below) to become a member of the US Paralympic team after several years of skiing starting at our annual Telluride event. Thanks to your support and his courage and determination, he is close to going to South Korea for the 2018 Winter Paralympic games. God speed Dave!

This year we also sent Elia Contaneros to Nevados de Chilan, Chili August 2 – 11. He was selected by Telluride Adaptive Sports to attend this international event for the disabled, adaptive skiing. Elia is visually impaired and now an advanced snowboard/skier and will ski the snowiest mountain in Chili known for its extreme steeps, diverse terrain and great snow.

David Williams at Canadian US Nationals. South Korea for 2018 Winter Paralympics next?

David Williams at Canadian US Nationals. South Korea for 2018 Winter Paralympics next?

VA Medical Center Lunch Retreat at Renewal Coalition

Each quarter Renewal Coalition hosts our Lunch Retreat in for the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center veterans. In 2016, we were able to serve over 200 disabled veterans who are being treated by the Community Living Center (CTC), Blind Rehab Center (BRC) and Outpatient Mental Health Programs (PRRC & MHICM). VAS will continue to sponsor the Lunch Retreats for 2017, now a very popular event for these great individuals.

Our VA Lunch Retreat Volunteers

Our VA Lunch Retreat Volunteers

Thank You Partners and Sponsors

Admirals Cove Foundation
Marine Corps League Detachment 1058
Orlando Ski Club
Renewal Coalition
Tampa Bay Snow Skiers and Boarders
The First Tee of the Palm Beaches
Westchester All Stars for Wounded Veterans
The Beson Family Foundation
The William Symonds Family Foundation
The Scuba Club, West Palm Beach
Florida Ski Council
Force E Dive Shop, Riviera Beach
The Honda Classic and United Technologies
Nam Knights, Palm Beach Chapter
Narcosis Dive Center, Riviera Beach
Satellite Beach Ski Club
SPLOR
Telluride Adaptive Sports Program (TASP)
Veterans Ocean Adventures (VOA)
VA Medical Center West Palm Beach

We will continue our efforts to offer additional adaptive sports programs and support for deserving disabled veterans. It is our intention to continue to reach out to disabled veterans wherever they are and whenever they served and encourage their participation in adaptive sports and recreation to promote happy and healthy lifestyles.

Board of Directors, Veterans Adaptive Sports
Doug Tuttle, President and Co-Founder
Robert Symonds, Director and Treasurer
William Edwards, Director
Charles Kays, Director

www.veteransadaptivesports.org

God Bless You, God Bless Our Veterans and God Bless America

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