After a month of no blogging I figure it's about time for me to write something. Time is just flying by. I really can't believe it is the middle of March already...
The weekend after I got back from Soldier Ride I was in Jacksonville, FL for the Wounded Warrior Project board meeting. I don't know how many know but I am a board member for the project. With Beijing in there this was the first meeting I had been to in a year and I walked away feeling so proud to be affiliated with such an incredible organization. The number of wounded warriors that benefit from the project's services is astounding. If you'd like to learn more about it go to www.woundedwarriorproject.org. You will be impressed.
The following weekend I was in Vail, CO for the Vail Veterans Program ski trip. There were 26 wounded veterans many whom had never skied since there injuries and a few like myself who could lend a supportive hand. I feel like I say this about many weekends I have, but this is one of my favorite weekends of the year. Seeing familiar faces, meeting new veterans, seeing them progress in their abilities and become more confident as the weekend goes on. It is fantastic. Not to mention that the last night the Vail firemen let us use their firehouse, cook us dinner, let us slide down the fireman's pole and just have a good time. It had been a while since I had skied and I forgot how much I LOVE the feeling of flying down the mountain as fast as I can on the border of out of control. The wind in my face, the speed, it is such a rush and I love it.
In between the weekends I have been busy at work. I am really enjoying it and although it keeps me busy with the hours at work, the training and all the trips I attend I love it. I feel like I am getting more comfortable working with the patients and I am learning so much. We have gotten a number of patients up and walking for the first time since they lost a leg a few times in the past weeks and it is so rewarding. I really am enjoying myself there.
I am part of the Paralympic Mentor Program and just this past week myself and 40 other Para athlete mentors went to DC to advocate for support of the Paralympics. We each met with the Congressman from our state to ask for their support. Mine went surprisingly well as with Chicago 2016 in the running, they want to do all they can. We also made a trip to Walter Reed to visit with other returning vets and teach them of the Paralympics. That was my 2nd time back to the hospital this year and I always enjoy it. Seeing my old therapists and other employees, meting new veterans, etc. This time I went into my old room on Ward 57 and saw a young man who had just lost his eg. It was a bit surreal to be in my old room, much smaller than I remembered...
I stayed in DC a day longer than most to do some work for the documentary Warrior Champions that us coming out this summer. If I haven't mentioned it before it is a documentary profiling 5 of us that were injured in Iraq and our quest for Beijing. I saw a 10 minute trailer of it in DC and it is going to be quite the film. The full title is 'Warrior Champions, from Baghdad to Beijing' When it is out I will make sure you all know about it as I encourage you all to see it. It is being filmed by the Renaud brothers who have made a number of other films and they are extremely talented. I can't wait to see the finished product.
Training has been going well. It was a bit off this week as I was gone for 2.5 days and didn't workout at all. To be honest, I felt like a huge slob. But other than those 2 days, it is going really well. The armbike rides have gotten as long as 2.5 hrs, the running is improving and the swimming is still going well. I feel like I may actually be ready for the Sadlers Alaska Challenge when it gets here.. Today was one of my favorite days of the year so far. Mid- 50's and I was out on the bike path on my arm bike and it was perfect. I stopped halfway to just sit by the lake for a while and thoroughly enjoyed myself.
It's times like those when I realize how lucky I really am. I have many opportunities in my life and I try and take advantage of all that I can. Sometimes I feel undeserving of all the places I am able to go and the things I am able to do but I try to make the most out of them and impact as many as I am able. I couldn't ask for much more at this point in my life and thanks to all those that helped me get here. I love my life.