The program is a collaboration between two nonprofits — the High Fives Foundation and the Adaptive Training Foundation
(Truckee, California, Friday, November 11, 2016) — Experiencing a life-altering injury in the name of duty for the United State Military comes with two forms of pain — physical and emotional.
“The physical pain, yeah its bad, but it’s tolerable. I can forget the pain and go on,” says Veteran Marine Ryan Zimmerer. “It’s the emotional and mental pain that’s the hard part for me.”
Zimmerer is the driving voice and story behind the short film collaboration between action sports nonprofit the High Fives Foundation and disabled athlete organization the Adaptive Training Foundation.
In 2014, the two organizations began a program called Military to the Mountains. Injured US Military Veterans are trained for nine weeks at the Adaptive Training Foundation in Dallas, Texas, preparing for a week of skiing at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows in California. The Veterans are instructed by Achieve Tahoe adaptive ski program.
“The goal of the program is offer wounded war-fighters an opportunity to tap back into their physicality by pushing through mental and physical barriers,” said David Vobora, founder and CEO of the Adaptive Training Foundation. “Experiencing the mountains for the first time post-injury redefines their limits and ignites new passion to take ridge lines they no longer thought were possible.”
The entire effort is completely organized and funded by the High Fives Foundation whose mission is to provide resources and inspiration to mountain action sports athletes with life-altering injuries.
In 2015, the program inspired Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows ski resort located in the Lake Tahoe area of California. The resort now provides a Silver Tahoe Super Pass to military personnel, along with a note of appreciation and a challenge coin for a donation of $25, of which all proceeds support the Military to the Mountains program and 22Kill, an organization working to raise awareness to the suicide epidemic that is plaguing US military Veterans, including education on mental health issues such as PTS.
“We’re dedicated to improving the physical and emotional health of US veterans,” said Roy Tuscany, executive director of the High Fives Foundation. “It’s been an extremely rewarding opportunity to bring all of these organizations together to honor these men and women who have been injured serving our country.”
The project received funding from Chive Charities, the philanthropic arm of the entertainment website theCHIVE, allowing for another year of sustainability. It also attracted support from 16 other national sponsors.
“As warriors, we don’t need a hand out, we need a hand up,” said Jake Schick, a US veteran Marine who helped pilot the program in 2014. “So if you give us an example of greatness to follow, we’re going to follow it.”
On this Veterans Day 2016, please enjoy and share the film about Ryan Zimmerer and the others involved in the Military to the Mountains project.
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