About this iReport
  • Approved for CNN

  • Posted March 4, 2011 by
    Mount Washington, British Columbia

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    Soldier On


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     seeitnow says he had planned to do a story on the Wounded Warrior and Soldier On programs, but 'while I was at the ski lodge there were dozens of disabled vets getting ready for their day on the slopes and in walks Damien. I just assumed he was one of the instructors. All of a sudden he whips off both legs and starts to change into his ski gear ... I had to do this interview with him so that other disabled vets could see what potential remains.'
    - dsashin, CNN iReport producer

    The Wounded Warrior Project in the USA estimates that over 40,000  members of the US armed forces have been physically wounded serving in  current military conflict zones.


    The road to recovery can be a  difficult one, but it's also a mind game. You can choose to walk or run  your way to rehabilitation...or, as I recently discovered, if you are  like a crew of wounded vets I met who are participating in the Soldier  On Program... you can chose to snowboard and ski it.

    Both the Wounded Warriors Project in the USA and the Soldier On  Program in Canada are non-profits serving wounded Afghanistan and Iraq  vets. Their adaptive sports training programs and events run throughout  the year "to maximize rehabilitation and live active and healthy lives."

    Many events put on by Canada's Soldier On program are offered in  cooperation with similar programs in other countries. That's how I met  Private Damien Thomlinson, a member of the  Australian army's 2nd Commando Regiment -- the most elite, specialized  and DANGEROUS division of the  Australian army. He was one of the vets  participating in a Solider On event at Mount Washington, BC.

    Sitting down with Damien, I began to understand just how he  qualified for such an elite Australian military unit. His mental  strength is unparalleled. Despite having lost both of his legs to an IED  blast on April 3rd 2009, in Afghanistan, this young Private is hardly  phased by his life's turn of events. In fact, like many of the others I  had the honor of meeting at Mount Washington, he is a great sport about  it. Literally. In fact, to see Damien glide down the slopes on his  snowboard, you'd have a hard time picking him out from other mountain  pros!  

    You won't want to miss this interview.


    Recovering  WWII veterans were actually a major driving force that lead to the  development of the modern paralympic sports movement.


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