STRIDE Wounded Warrior Program Honors Alumni Veterans in a New Way
Each year STRIDE selects a new group of Wounded Warriors who have returned from deployment with permanent injuries to spend a weekend of skiing and outdoor snow sports that are adapted for success for any diagnosis. The experience is meant to connect and engage new wounded veterans with a local support network of injured veterans who have previously participated in STRIDE programs by introducing adaptive sports. There is then the opportunity for the honored veterans to join other year-round programs with STRIDE, in any of the 18 adaptive sport and recreation programs offered. Typically the selected veterans have been from the Northeast area, but due to Covid protocols and state travel restrictions, STRIDE is adapting for in-state travel.
This year the Wounded Warrior Snowfest will invite Alumni Warriors with one family guest to participate in the event that includes skiing and outdoor activities to maintain the safety of all involved while keeping the fun and history of the 16th annual event intact. STRIDE will honor ten local veterans from the Capital Region who have previously participated and gone on to pay it forward showing a commitment to the organization by not only reaping the rewards of being an athlete in programs that STRIDE offers, but also by giving back as a volunteer in some capacity.
In lieu of the typical welcome banquet held at the Hilton in Troy each year for 300+guests, alumni veterans will be honored through a Virtual Zoom Ceremony on Friday, March 5th at 7 pm, featuring a video montage of actively involved veterans who have been helped through STRIDE adaptive sport programs. Other featured speakers include Warrior, Christopher Gibson, President of Siena College; Rudy Ruettiger of Notre Dame football fame, and Keynote address from Major Pierre Larkin, motivational speaker. The Warriors will ski a day on the slopes of Jiminy Peak in private lessons followed by a second day of “winter carnival” activities such as ice fishing, snowshoeing, hockey and bonfire with meals under a heated tent on Crooked Lake in Sand Lake, NY.
Thanks to a local veteran Gary Favro and his wife Debbie who have opened their home grounds on the lake to help us celebrate. “We are looking forward to hosting this group of great men and women who have served our country for a day of fun at our home. Especially now, days such as this, are important for everyone to be healthy both mentally and physically.” Favro says.
Tickets to the Virtual Welcome Ceremony on Friday, March 5th can be purchased for $10 by visiting www.stride.org homepage.