Monday, February 28, 2011

Higher Ground: Healing America's Wounded Veterans in Sun Valley

"Today I found out that what I thought would be a physical barrier, never was a barrier. I didn't find stress. I found release. I found a side of me that was always there but I was never brave enough to look at it."

-Adam Rollins, U.S. Army

Sun Valley Adaptive Sports makes the above a reality.

Their mission: enriching the lives of people with disabilities through sports and recreation.

One of the agents in our office, Bill Norris, is closely associated with this program, and wrote a short piece about his experiences.

"As a former Officer LT JG serving on the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown during the late 50s in southeast Asia, I have always had a heart for the separation of service members and their families, wives and significant others. I was asked to help 5 years ago as a driver for Sun Valley Adaptive Sports during one of our wounded service member programs. I met a young woman in the front passenger seat with me, she was way too young to have a double amputee son wounded in Iraq in the back seat of my car. His artificial legs were in the trunk and he was yahooing in the back seat, ecstatic with joy to have snowboarded down River Run  on our adaptive snowboarding equipment. His 30 something year old mother was his “significant other” and she was equally as ecstatic to see him doing something so amazingly important to his physical and mental recovery with his complicated wounds. Next thing I knew I was serving on the Board of Directors of the organization and personally hosting one of the annual Higher Ground summer watersports camps at our Pettit Lake Cabin with very much “hands on” participation with these incredible brave young men (and their equally brave wives/caretakers ), as they reintegrate into American life with their disabilities and new unexpected challenges. We are now nationally recognized as one of the most sought after campuses in the country for wounded servicemen and their wives/significant others. Typically serving 6 couples at a time, so as to provide intimate physical and mental therapy utilizing adaptive winter and summer sports, including flyfishing, to challenge these men and women to strive once again.
I have so many personal stories I wouldn't know where to start so encourage anyone who wants to be involved to call me at 208.720.0724 and join the Higher Ground program or one of our summer programs serving local Blaine County special needs children, teenagers and young adults…Go Sun Valley Adaptive Sports!"

A little bit about the Higher Ground Program:
Higher Ground (HG) utilizes a highly innovative, multidisciplinary approach to therapy that combines sports, family, and coping therapies to restore and rehabilitate men and women of the armed forces who have been severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. HG is recognized as one of the premier rehabilitation programs in the country by the Department of Defense, military medical centers, and veteran service organizations. Often overlooked, a veteran's transition back into civilian life poses challenges that can be as daunting as the physical recovery. Our goal is to give each veteran the physical skills, confidence, and coping strategies necessary for a successful reintegration into their families and communities.

We inspire hope and encourage veterans and their significant others to apply the lessons learned at HG camps to their daily lives. The transformations that take place are truly profound. Veterans leave our program having rediscovered their own potential, committed to not allowing their injuries define who they are.

-Courtesy Sun Valley Adaptive Sports

Please visit the website at for more information.

Linked are two videos by Mark Oliver
SVASP Wounded Warriors: Segment One and Two

Below are photos from this and last years events, as well as the information flyer for this weeks program, Feb 27-March 4.

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