Vail Veterans Program celebrates 15 years with Vail Symposium
Daily staff report
If you go …
What: The Journey Home: Celebrating the Resiliency of the Human Spirit with the Vail Veterans Program.
When: Thursday, doors open at 5:30 p.m.; program from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Where: Zermatt Ballroom, Hotel Talisa in Vail.
Cost: $25 prior to midnight on the day before the program; $35 after midnight and at the door.
More information: www.vailsymposium.org.
Fifteen years ago, Cheryl Jensen wanted to give something back to wounded veterans; she had the idea to bring them to Vail to ski. Today, the Vail Veterans Program transforms the lives of injured military veterans and their families through innovative programs that build confidence and lifelong relationships.
On Thursday at Hotel Talisa, the Vail Symposium and Vail Veterans Program present a special evening with three Vail Veterans Program alumni who will share their stories.
“Before they were veterans, these men and women were ordinary people who agreed to do the extraordinary,” said Kris Sabel, executive director of the Vail Symposium in a news release. “We’re honored to present this program in partnership with the Vail Veterans Program to give our audience an opportunity to hear from these veterans. It promises to be an inspirational evening.”
Created in 2004 as an adaptive winter ski program with seven wounded warriors, the Vail Veterans Program has grown to host more than 500 severely injured veterans and more than 1,000 family members and caregivers, promoting physical and emotional healing for wounded warriors and their families.
“We are honored to partner with Vail Symposium for this special evening,” said Jensen in the release. “Our alumni that will be attending will share their inspirational stories of their service and sacrifice, offering an insight into the resiliency of the human spirit.”
Col. Greg Gadson, Capt. Dawn Halfaker and Lt. Jason Redman, all Vail Veterans Program alums, continue to set an example long after their military service has ended as exemplary citizens. Join the Symposium to hear their stories of healing, recovery and post-service accomplishment.
About the speakers
Gadson is a 25-year career Army officer. In May 2007, as commander of the Second Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery, an improvised explosive device attack cost Gadson both legs above the knees and normal use of his right arm and hand. Despite this, he remained on active duty in the Army and continued to inspire many with his message of courage, perseverance, determination and teamwork.
Halfaker is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Halfaker and Associates. Prior to starting Halfaker and Associates, Halfaker also served as a military police officer in the United States Army. Halfaker held several leadership positions and was deployed to Iraq with the Third Infantry Division where she commanded a military police platoon in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. She was subsequently wounded during a combat patrol near Baghdad in 2004, earning a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for her service.
Redman spent eight years as an enlisted SEAL and was selected for the Seaman to Admiral Commissioning program in 2000. He attended Old Dominion University and was commissioned as a Naval SEAL Officer. Redman completed combat deployments in both Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2007, outside of Fallujah, Iraq, Redman’s assault team came under heavy fire and he was severely wounded. Redman is the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, the Purple Heart, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Combat Action Ribbons and the US Army Ranger tab along with numerous other personal and unit awards.
Richardson has shot for the magazine since 1984, and his work is up for public viewing at multiple locations in the area.