Vail Daily letter: Incredible experience |

Vail Daily letter: Incredible experience

Dear Vail community,

Just a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to ski for the first time since losing my legs while serving in Iraq. I was one of the 37 veterans who came to town at the invitation of the Vail Veterans Program for an adaptive ski clinic.

The experience was incredible.

From the minute I hopped into the CME van and chatted the whole way into town with the friendliest driver I’d ever met, I knew that this would be a special trip. Throughout the week, everyone I met made me feel right at home.

As former Marine officer, I know how much work it takes to run a smooth operation. Bringing 37 veterans, all with unique injuries, and their families to Vail for a ski trip is nothing short of a herculean undertaking. Hundreds of hours (and thousands of dollars) were contributed. Folks from across the community pitched in to help out with transportation, lodging, food, ski gear and lift tickets, and entertainment. All of this made the difference between just a fun ski trip and a life-changing experience.

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I spent a lot of time in outdoor sports before I was injured. There was nothing quite like summiting a fourteener and being king of the world for a brief moment, or feeling the wind whip against my face while biking, skiing or skydiving. Now that I’m in a wheelchair, I’m confronted with the harsh reality that my freedom is restricted by commonplace barriers like stairs, curbs, and the need to stay on a paved surface. But when I was on that ski a few weeks ago, there was nothing holding me back. So thanks for helping me to feel a little bit more like my old self, and I ask that you continue to support the Vail Veterans Program so that many others can experience the healing sense of freedom that I did.

Andrew Kinard

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