Rumsfeld skis with veterans |

Rumsfeld skis with veterans

NWS Rumsfield PU 3-4

VAIL – Donald H. Rumsfeld in a green and purple ski jacket?Seeing the secretary of defense in his ski garb at Golden Peak Lodge on Saturday morning may have required a double-take from some skiers.But Rumsfeld was just another person who was thanking the Iraq war amputee veterans who are skiing Vail Mountain this week as part of Vail Veterans Week. He skied with the vets Saturday.”They have to be special people to do what they do regularly in their lives,” Rumsfeld said. “They are so ready to try things out and do something else.”

Rumsfeld and his wife, Joyce, posed for a group photo with the veterans, their families and the ski instructors who have skied with the vets since Thursday.”We’re just so grateful to the Vail community and (Vail Veterans Week organizer) Cheryl (Jensen) for all they have done,” Rumsfeld said. “The instructors are truly wonderful.”The veterans will go home after skiing and their ripple effect will inspire other amputee veterans to try activities that may have seemed off-limits to them, he said.”It’s like dropping a pebble in a pond,” he said.

The event also makes the vets feel appreciated, Rumsfeld said.”They take with them confidence and a real understanding about the fact that the American people appreciate them,” he said.Rumsfeld, who was also secretary of defense in the 1970s under President Ford, a longtime Vail Valley resident, said he’s an OK skier.”I like to go fast as opposed to look good,” Rumsfeld said.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14623, or, Colorado

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