Fire Lines

Firefighters Take to Slopes to Help Vets

By James Slevin
UFA Vice President

For three days in February, New York City Firefighters teamed up with the Adaptive Sports Foundation (ASF), The Wounded Warrior Project and Disabled Sports USA to bring 30 disabled service men and women to Windham Mountain for a weekend of skiing and snowboarding. This is the second consecutive year in Windham hosted the "Support Our Troops" weekend in order to help our courageous men and women who have been permanently disabled as a result of their service overseas. Many of those taking part in the event are currently in rehabilitation programs at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC and Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Each person taking part in the festivities, from the instructors and community volunteers to the soldiers and firefighters, was positively affected by the nature of the event. As the days progressed it was evident that powerful bonds were being formed between the soldiers and Firefighters.

The ASF instructors are themselves disabled soldiers. Many of those who come to the event are not sure if they will be able to participate due to their injuries. However, once they see that the instructors are also disabled vets, that attitude diminishes quickly. "I wasn't really into skiing, but after seeing the disabled ASF instructors doing it, I changed my mind," said Retired Army Staff Sergeant Hilbert Ceasar. "The fact that the instructors are disabled war veterans inspired me. It made my weekend."

Tim Woods, General Manager of Windham Mountain elaborated on how gratifying it is to host an event such as this. "It's truly an honor to be able to give back to these men and women who have given so much for our country. The entire Windham Community is looking forward to a great weekend." The weekend culminated with a dinner held on Saturday in appreciation of the volunteers and vets. The following day there was time for one more run before heading home.