Now in its 30th year, The National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic provides US military Veterans and those still in active duty with disabilities, the tools and instruction they need to participate in winter sports. Even those with profound and traumatic injuries are able to participate through the use of specially designed equipment providing a new found sense of independence and achievement. Over the past 30 years, more than 400 veterans have participated in the clinic and the event continues to grow year over year.
One particular participant, Jake Hipps – 61 year old United States Marine Core Veteran, currently working at the Buffalo VA Medical Center and member of the DAV Buffalo, Chapter 1 (pictured)- has been attending the clinic for the past 15 years.
“My main focus is to ski and mentor other veterans,” said Hipps. “I like to go there and be of support to the new vets coming on, the younger ones especially. It takes them a while to get adjusted to their injury and learn a new way of life. I like to show them life is not over and in fact, it could turn out to be even better than your old life”.
Hipps’ first time at the event wasn’t like most – he jumped straight onto a mono ski, no tether, no instruction and just went for it. After a rough first day, he finally made a good run and said to himself “wow, I can do this”. It is that exact sort of 'ah-ha' moment that is so important to the participants and is the main reason why Hipps feels so passionate about participating in this fantastic event year after year.
Not all activities at the Winter Sports Clinic involve skiing. There are several events to try including, rock climbing, curling, sled hockey and self-defense. This year was the biggest year for new comers with more first time participants than ever.
This year, Scootaround was honored to be able to send Shannon Ardell, Scootaround Customer Service Specialist and Nathan Britt, Numotion Denver Technician, to attend the clinic to handle any and all damaged equipment claims for attendees at the event, ensuring that every participant was able to enjoy the clinic to the fullest. Having Scootaround staff on site to either repair or replace damaged equipment and provide rentals in the interim meant that no participant would have to miss a moment of the clinic. Throughout the week, Scootaround facilitated 15 claims for participants. Having Scootaround staff on site allowed the participants and airlines alike to streamline the process.
“Scootaround has been very helpful to me,” said Hipps. “The last couple years without having Scootaround would not have been easy. People don’t always realize that our equipment is not just equipment; it is our arms, our legs. Before I knew about Scootaround, if my equipment was damaged, I had to handle it myself. Now I call Scootaround and they handle it for me. I’m so grateful and appreciate the attitude of everyone I’ve dealt with at the company. They make me feel very comfortable and like I’m part of the family”.
Scootaround is very proud to be a part of such an important event and proud of all of this year's participants. Supporting our veterans has always been and will continue to be a focus for Scootaround and we are looking forward to next year’s event!
Article feature images, "Jake Hipps, United States Marine Core Veteran - Buffalo VA Medical Center - Member of the DAV Buffalo, Chapter 1" by Shannon Ardell, Scootaround Customer Service Specialist