WINDHAM, N.Y. – The Windham Mountain Resort will be hosting more than 30 soldiers, marines and their families for a Wounded Warriors recreation program.
The resort’s annual “Learn to Ski and Ride” event is for service men and women who were injured during recent tours overseas.
Chip Seamans is the President and General Manager of Windham Resort. He said the resort was making snow all week to prepare for what he called an “inspirational” weekend.
“We teach a lot of people to ski and snowboard here,” he said. “But this weekend we have some very special people here, and it’s an opportunity for us to provide our facilities and our instructors to them to really be able to pull it off.”
This is the tenth year the resort will team up with the Adaptive Sports Foundation and the Wounded Warriors Project to provide an enjoyable weekend for veterans and their families to learn how to ski and snowboard.
The Adaptive Sports Club is a non-profit organization that provides adaptive sports for people with disabilities of all ages.
Tom Munn is the Executive Director. He said the goal for the weekend is to let injured soldiers engage in a physical health and wellness program with family members.
“Hopefully they will gain a lifelong pursuit in recreation that they can engage with not only their family members but also other veterans and are able to gain some camaraderie because of that,” he said.
Around 120 volunteers will help out over the weekend, including members of the FDNY and former “Learn to Ski and Ride” participants.
Gary Michael Lamb is retired from the FDNY but has been volunteering for the event for the past eight years and has become friends with some of the veterans who return for the ski weekend every year.
He said firefighters enjoy volunteering because they have a “kinship” with the veterans as many of them also used to be service members.
FDNY volunteers provide transportation for the veterans and their families, but according to Lamb, they also provide much more.
“We’ll be here for transportation and comedic relief,” he said. “I think that’s where we do our best honestly.”
Michael Day will be volunteering at the event. He first came to Windham four years ago as a participant in the ski weekend. He said he wanted to return as a volunteer because he realized how therapeutic outdoor activities can be.
“That first run,” he said. “When they learn the skills to get up the mountain and come down – the look on their faces is breathtaking.”