Vail Daily letter: Appreciative veteran
Vail, CO, Colorado
I am a currently serving Army major, and Wounded Warrior, who has participated in the Vail Veterans Program three times. I was wounded in Iraq in January 2008 and attended the Vail Veterans Program the first time, with my wife, just six months after having my left arm amputated below-elbow.
Attending the Vail Veterans Program was the first time I had ridden a horse, shot a gun, rowed a boat or camped out since being wounded. I found that I could still be very active, proving that these injuries are merely life altering, not life ending. These feelings have been echoed by my fellow Wounded Warriors involved with the Vail Veterans Program over the years.
Both the summer and winter programs provide opportunities for wounded veterans and their families to participate in adapted activities. The result is increased confidence, greater understanding of personal abilities and hope for the future, all played out in an atmosphere of respect, encouragement and fun. The summer program last week was the first time all the veterans brought at least one family member, while several brought their entire families. There are very few programs for wounded veterans that allow the children to participate. It was wonderful to have my children with me this time, and I know they will never forget Vail or all the adventures they were able to have in the busy four days. They are already asking when we can go back.
I wanted to write and thank everyone in Vail for their generosity and support for the Vail Veterans Program on July 21 through 25. Vail is an incredible place, and I am always amazed at the way the community turns out in support of the wounded veterans who participate each year in the Vail Veterans Program. My wife, Malissa, and I had an incredible time in Colorado, and it was thrilling to see the other Wounded Warriors doing the same. The Vail Veterans Program is a truly first-class operation.
I would especially like to thank Cheryl Jensen, without whom this wonderful program would not exist. I also would like to extend a special thanks to Pat and Tricia McConathy and everyone at Yarmony Creek Lodge for taking such wonderful care of us, again. I would like to thank Ann Smead, Michael Byram, Chris Jarnot, Dave Pease, Chef Jordan Goncharoff and all the other residents of Vail who helped for making this such and incredible event. Finally, I would like to thank the Vail Marriott and Vail Resorts for their continued support.
David C. Underwood
Major, U.S. Army