Rock Creature
That's me taking a picture of it at Newport Beach R.I. Notice its head on the right, one eye is showing. It appears to have a trunk or some sort of a beak. On the left of the body you can see its big fat tail that curled up as it died. It has a big round body. Its legs are not seen, they're under the body. I call it the Rock Creature because it has the ability to blend in with the many boulders along Newport shores.

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Wounded Warrior Project

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Wounded Warrior Project

There is a special class of people with disabilities: they are our War Veterans. Recently I had the satisfaction of helping some of them have a great time at a sporting event.
Although Tools for Easy Living is primarily about helping people with disabilities live independent lives it also recognizes the importance of their participation in recreational activities.
The Veterans Administration, which serves some 30 million veterans and their dependents, recognizes the healing value of recreational activities.
An excerpt from the Committee on Veteran’s Affairs gives a good description of VA’s role:
“Recreational therapy is an ideal component of the rehabilitative regimen because it allows veterans to be active by engaging in their favorite sports and recreational activities, while simultaneously healing the mental and physical wounds of war. Recreational therapists can use a variety of techniques, including sports, games, dance, arts and crafts, animals, drama, music, and community outings to help reduce depression, stress and anxiety; enhance basic motor functioning; and build confidence among the program participants.”
In addition to VA’s Recreational Therapy programs, there are hundreds of private organizations from across the country that provide veterans with the opportunity to have fun in engaging in all sorts of sports and events.
If you’re a veteran and are at present just existing on the sidelines, go to the OLIVE-DRAB website. There you will not only find information about the many government agencies and the programs they offer but also of the various private organization, including the well known ones that were formed during the last century.
A more recent one, that was formed, a post 9/11 non-profit organization, is The Wounded Warrior Project . It focuses on veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. See their calendar to get an idea of the wide range of activities that organizations and clubs from all over the country make it possible for veterans to participate in.
One such club, a shooting range in central New Jersey has, in the past four years, organized three such wounded warrior projects. During the first such event, soldiers from the Walter Reed Army Hospital were treated to two days of fun and relaxation. They spent the first day at the range and the second day at a Yankee baseball game. For the night, the veterans were put up in a NYC firehouse.
Yes, target shooting is fun and relaxing. This Iraq vet, a double-leg amputee “hopped” off his wheel chair, parked himself on one of the trap positions and broke clays for over an hour. This was after he already tried out every other gun that was available at the range.
Here’s another Iraq vet from Walter Reed, a single-arm amputee.
It took a little while to get him fitted with the right shotgun. He settled on a 28 ga.  He scored so well that his coach offered to put him in contact with clubs that host competitive trap shooting for the disabled.
The most recent “day at the range” event was held this year in October. That was when Mary and I got involved. It was billed as a day of shooting and a day of fishing. The Mayor arranged a motorcade from the City Hall to the range. Veterans from all wars were welcome. There is a YouTube of the 2009 motorcade.
Volunteers, many of them also veterans (including me), provided guns and instructions for a whole day of shooting. The second day the vets went trout fishing. The NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife opened a local hatchery for our guests. All fishing equipment was provided for them.
Mary volunteered for the pistol line. Here she’s shown preparing a 1911 for a vet to shoot. Besides shotguns and pistols, the veterans were able to try out a variety of rifles and they had access to an archery range.
Got a pleasant surprise, met a shipmate there. That’s him on the right. He spotted me by the same Navy hat that he wore. We talked about our experiences on the carrier and about a certain pilot, now a senator from Arizona, who served aboard the USS Forrestal at the same time as we both did.
Target shooting is therapeutic. But if you’d also like to go hunting then check out this site, Disabled Shooting Services. Scroll down to see links of all the state websites for information about hunting with disabilities.
Dec 2010