The Wounded Warrior Project will come to the Adirondacks from September 5 to 8, offering four days of activities for 16 servicemen and women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Wounded Warrior Project has the goal of supporting a generation of wounded warriors to be well-adjusted in mind and body, economically empowered and connected to one another.
The weekend’s events in and around Old Forge will offer wounded service members opportunities for fishing, canoeing and kayaking, horseback riding, hiking and more.
The event is sponsored by The Adaptive Sports Foundation (ASF). Based in Windham, NY the organization promotes physical activity for children and adults with disabilities. ASF has a specific grant program that supports Wounded Warrior Projects. The Adirondack League Club is the host of the local event.
Tom Williams, Adirondack Landowners Association Presi-dent, has been instrumental in bringing this program to the area. He and his wife Karen Feldman hosted a small event for five soldiers in 2009, out of which this program grew.
What followed were two events, one in 2010 and one in 2011 at the Bisby complex at the Adirondack League Club with over a dozen soldiers taking part.
“We couldn’t host this without the generosity of the League Club,” Williams said.
He said some of the participants have physical disabilities, and they all suffer with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to one degree or another.
“The recuperative powers of being in the woods has phenomenal benefits,” he added.
This year participants will have a variety of activities to choose from. Connie Perry of Frisky Otter Tours in Inlet will provide kayak and canoe lessons. Payne’s Air Services, also of Inlet, will take participants up to the Gooley Club in Newcomb and Brandreth Park in Long Lake to go fishing.
Adirondack Saddle Tours in Eagle Bay will provide a horseback riding experience. And Old Forge’s VIEW will open its doors for a tour of the facility and the galleries. There will also be a tour of the Cornell research facility on the Adirondack League Club property.
Joining the group will be professional photographer Dan Burns of Connecticut who will be documenting their experiences throughout the four days.
The event is really a collaborative effort, according to Williams. Many local and national stores have made contributions of food and other items including DiOrio’s Supermarket in Old Forge, Kalil’s Grocery in Inlet, Dan’s Big M in Eagle Bay, Oscar’s Adirondack Smoke House in Warrensburg, and Heidelberg Baking Company in Herkimer.
Many at the Adirondack League Club have opened up their camps to the warriors.
Williams also acknowledged the great support of the Adirondack communities of Old Forge and Inlet and the role of private landowners.
“This is something the private sector can do working in concert with local government and the business community,” he said.
The goal is to ultimately make this program a permanent presence in the area—one that blends culture, science, outdoor experiences, the arts and history.