America Supports You: Program Gets Wounded Vets Outdoors, Active
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 15, 2008 Wounded veterans who once enjoyed sports and being outdoors have the opportunity once again, courtesy of a program in Alabama.
“Lakeshore Foundation’s ‘Lima Foxtrot Programs for Injured Military’ help servicemen and women adapt sports and recreation activities so they may get back to living healthy, active, independent lives,” said Susan Katz, the foundation’s communications coordinator. “These programs are open to military personnel who have sustained severe service-related injuries in recent warfare in Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations in the world.”
For more than 20 years, the Lakeshore Foundation has worked to enable people with physical disability and chronic health conditions to lead healthy, active and independent lifestyles through physical activity. It offers its clients a chance to participate in outdoor activities such as water skiing, canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing, scuba diving and shooting sports, to name a few.
“Participants generally have injuries that include amputation, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injury, visual impairment or blindness, burns, or other severe orthopedic injuries,” Katz said.
The recently created Lima Foxtrot Programs are specifically for wounded veterans. Composed of different “operations,” the programs offer injured servicemembers the opportunity to get back to nature.
“Our signature event, Operation Rise and Conquer, is a four-day outdoor adventure experience held each fall that is open to servicemen and women with a variety of physically disabling conditions,” Katz said.
Injured servicemembers and one guest also may take part in Operation Night Vision and Operation X-Sports. The first is for those suffering vision impairment. The second is for servicemembers who want to push the limits and try a variety of extreme sports.
Operation Endurance, the fourth Lima Foxtrot program, focuses on providing injured servicemembers from Alabama with a daily fitness program.
“All programs are provided at absolutely no cost to the servicemen and women, and each participant is allowed to have one guest attend at no cost as well,” Katz said. “Lakeshore Foundation covers the cost for all air and ground transportation, lodging, meals and activities.”
The foundation also recently became a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.
“Lakeshore Foundation is pleased to [be affiliated] with America Supports You, as we are hoping to raise the general awareness of our Lima Foxtrot program on a national level,” Katz said. “We hope this helps build the credibility of the programs we are offering, as well as helps us find and recruit injured servicemen and women to participate.”