Veterans With Disabilities Reach New Heights
KREX News Room
SNOWMASS VILLAGE, Colo. For the 27th year in a row disabled veterans from around the country participated in the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic. This year the clinic is being held at Snowmass Village. Close to 400 veterans participated.
Each slope and each rock wall is a new opportunity to overcome adversity.
Charlie Louden of Grand Junction, a Hospital Corpsman for the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam era, said, "Perception is not reality, just because you think I can't do it because I'm in a chair, doesn't make it so."
Louden lost his ability to walk after serving his country, after facing a rare and unexplainable spinal injury.
"I was out on a run and felt a twitch in my leg and the next day, didn't have my right leg. I went from a cane to crutches to a walker to a wheelchair," said Louden.
A rock in his life keeps him climbing.
"I have a wonderful wife, Teresa, she takes care of me. The one comment she keeps making is it doesn't change what we do, it just changes how we do it," he said.
A first time participant at the clinic, Louden says he's already reached new heights.
"I highly recommend any vet who hasn't been here, get off your butt, talk to who you need to talk to, and get out here next year," said Louden.
He says he'll keep climbing after the clinic, "I'm going to walk one day. And when I do, don't let the rangers on the Monument know, but the day I do this rascals' going over the cliff in a ball of flames. We're going to have a party, a kick-off party at the top of the Monument. "
Veterans interested in participating in next years clinic should contact their local VA facility.