Camo was the color of the day as a participant hits the slopes at Whitehall Resort. (USO-Metro Photo by Crystal Benton)
As reported last week by the Department of Defense, wounded warriors and disabled veterans are finding therapeutic benefits in an unlikely place: the ski slopes! USO of Metropolitan Washington and Two Top Mountain Adaptive Sports Foundation have partnered for this unique program of athletics and healing.
“I’ve been using snowboarding and hand cycling and weight lifting to manage my pain for the past three years,” former Air Force senior airman Matthew Bilancia, a New Jersey native, said. “I think by using different sports and athletics, it keeps you from being depressed. It manages my depression and post-traumatic stress. It’s great to able to use those things instead of the medication.”
This is just one of many programs USO-Metro offers to Troops and their families who are recovering and receiving treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, National Naval Medical Center, and Warrior Transition Units at Fort Meade, Fort Belvoir and the Hunter Holmes McGuire Richmond VAMC.
“This partnership with Two Top Adaptive has given us the opportunity to expand the types of therapeutic and adaptive programming we are able to offer to troops recovering at local military hospitals,” said Elaine Rogers, president of USO-Metro. “We are grateful for Two Top Adaptive’s commitment to deliver a truly exciting and restorative activity to our wounded warriors.”
Bill Dietrich, Two Top Mountain Adaptive Sports Foundation executive director, added, “Adaptive skiing is an excellent recreation opportunity for these troops because gravity doesn’t care if you’re standing up or sitting down. The USO of Metropolitan Washington has a long-standing tradition of serving wounded warriors and their families and we’re honored to partner with them.”
Check out a video from USO Metro’s YouTube channel!
4TROOPS are United States combat veterans – three young men and one woman who served on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan. Former Cpt. Meredith Melcher, Former Sgt. Daniel Jens, Staff Sgt. (Ret.) Ron Henry and Former Sgt. David Clemo have come together for a singular purpose: to sing on behalf of all troops, to honor their sacrifices and to create awareness for their needs.
And here’s the exciting part: their debut self-titled CD will be available on April 20th with a portion of the proceeds from the sales to benefit veteran-related charities, including the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and the USO! The album consists of well-known positive pop and country songs and some new songs. All of the songs take on a special meaning in the context that they are performed by these four combat heroes. The first song is For Freedom, an inspirational patriotic tune written by Matt Moran for his grandfather, a WWII vet. Country star Toby Keith gives his blessing for a new version of his popular and controversial post 9/11 hit Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue to be included on the album with lyrics revised to reflect a 2010 outlook.
Bob Woodruff, the ABC news anchor who was severely injured in Iraq, conducted the first TV interview with 4TROOPS which aired on Good Morning America (ABC) on Tuesday January 26th. Woodruff is personally invested in creating a better environment for injured troops who return from war. Through The Bob Woodruff Foundation and ReMIND.org, Woodruff’s goal is to provide resources and support to service members, veterans and their families to successfully reintegrate into their communities, in addition to educate the public about the needs of the injured troops and empower people everywhere to take action.
4TROOPS is embarking on an U.S. Military base tour at the end of March followed by a National tour in the fall. Upon hearing of the 4TROOPS, the Motel 6 hotel chain immediately wanted to be involved as a promotional partner and as a first step has generously donated lodging for the group throughout their U.S. Military base tour.
Check out their latest video below and be sure to visit their website to learn more!