Nothing short of another amazing ski trip in Granby, Colorado this past week, with this group of Purple Heart Veterans breaking through all sorts of barriers. This group like many others immediately bonded even though they didn’t know each prior and traveled from New Mexico, Texas and Mississippi. We arrived in Colorado to a very warm welcome from the Garden of the Gods Rotary Club bearing gifts and goodies for each one of our warriors on behalf of the Colorado Springs Visitor Center. Over the years of traveling to Granby we have made some incredible friends at Project Sanctuary, DeAntonio’s Pizzeria, Granby Ranch Ski Resort, the National Sports Center for the Disabled, Grand County Veterans group, EAA Chapter 1267, Grand Adventures Snow Mobile Tours and world renowned ski instruction Don Neiters. We thank all of them for helping us build a great trip and we certainly couldn’t get there without the help of the Veterans Airlift Command and the Southern Heritage Air Foundation.
“I had the opportunity to do things that I likely wouldn’t have otherwise, I skied and snowmobiled for the first time and got to see beautiful country, “stated Purple Heart Johnny Raines. Johnny was not alone, most all of this group were new to the slopes, the snowmobiles, hot springs, private flights over the mountains and a couple of up close encounters with some moose. “This was a great escape that allowed me to relax and enjoy myself” said Purple Heart David Inbody.
These trips always bring out the inner child in them all. They raced downhill on ski bikes; sling shot each other on the tubing hill and made some magnificent snow angels! Purple Heart Jared Kinsey added, “This is a great chance to enjoy judgement free/story time with people that understand my story.” All the fun we provide on these trips creates an environment where the walls come down and hearts swell. They get comfortable, have fun and this allows for a more relaxed ability to open up about their story, share it again, lay down the burden, and make it more normal. Our talks around the bonfire and the dinner table helps them to be accepting of where they are, who and what they lost, and to be ok with it all.
Sadly, these weeks have to come to an end but not without sending our Purple Heart Veterans off with new tools to help, “maintain when things get overwhelming,” per Rianes, and also leaving our mark on Granby, CO. We are now the "Purple Heart police" having called in to 911 about a very erratic driver in front of us. Turned out we took a “heck of a lot of heroine off the streets” said Granby Police Officer, who knows whose lives were changed that night for the better. That’s what this is all about, getting healthy so our strongest warrior hearts can help others in this world.
See more photos from our Annual Ski Granby Bonfire Trip!
WBP Team writers
Blogs are written by staff members of the Warrior Bonfire Program along with guest writers.