One of today’s events was the culmination of nearly four years of work, many thousands of hours of networking, and many people not fully understanding what I was trying to do. (I can’t take all the credit, I can only say I had a dream and that through connections, it is coming true) Today’s event was simple; get Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to partner with my friends at Adaptive Action Sports. Well, it finally happened in the form of an all veteran’s snowboard camp being hosted by AAS in Copper Mountain, Colorado.
IAVA uses a reward’s site called the Rucksack to give veterans opportunities that most people could never dream of. These opportunities are given by our gracious sponsors in the hopes that they are showing support to veterans how fought for their country. If you read my ramblings, you know that I have been the recipient of many amazing good times, from doing a stint as a Joseph Abboud model, to sideline/box tickets to an NY Giants game, Yankees playoff tickets, and IAVA’s Heroes Gala. Others have won trips to Vegas and even to the Super Bowl. But today, we offered up three all expense paid trips to AAS’s Learn to Ride pipeline event in CO. This event is made possible by Disabled Sports USA, United States of America Snowboarding Association, and Challenged Athletes Foundation with AAS hosting. This pipeline camp is designed as a feeder for AAS’s ultimate goal of having America sweep the podiums in snowboarding at the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, Russia (I have my fingers crossed that I am making this trip as well!).
The screen shot you see above is literally my greatest accomplishment thus far in life. I played just a part in making this happen, but this is the realization of a ton hard work for me. The epitome of seeing a niche, having a vision, and filling the void for the betterment of others. I am almost at a loss for words at how amazing this feels.
To my friends at AAS, thank you. Amy and Daniel, you put in so much of yourselves for this cause and I am glad to call you colleagues and friends. Nancy, you’re literally the glue here and I cannot wait to meet you. Chris, I love you vision and passion. I can’t wait to see what this team can do when we actually have a budget!
My IAVA crew who I come to love more and more with each passing day, thank you. Strat P team, you are incredible and I want to personally thank you for helping me see this through. I’m sure you didn’t know the gravity behind this “give” but this truly is a high point in my life. Helping to connect two amazing causes has been my dream. Tying action sports (my passion) with my eternal gratitude for fellow veterans makes me feel accomplished. MKF, Christina, Micheller, and Justin…thanks. You may never know how much today meant to me.
This is only the beginning. There is so much more left to do. So many more people to inspire. I cannot wait to see what the future holds with IAVA and AAS!