A Veteran’s Story of “Veterans Supporting Veterans @ Challenged America”

Once again, veterans from all over America are converging on San Diego for the annual National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic for recently injured veterans. In late September Challenged America (CA) will provide the sailing venue at the Marriott Marquis Hotel for Navy, Marine, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard veterans from the east, west, south and north who will come to “America’s Finest City” to participate in surfing in La Jolla, cycling and rock-wall climbing in Coronado, kayaking on Mission Bay, track & field activities at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, and sailing on San Diego Bay with Challenged America and Sail USA 11.

Veterans will not only be competing in the sports events provided to challenge our visitors, but they will be on the support side as well. Marshall Lubin, a veteran of four years service in the Navy will be sailing in the Martin 16 fleet as a companion sailor for Challenged America. Serving in Coronado at Seal Team One in the late seventies, Marshall was fortunate to serve on an anti-terrorist team that established protocols that were later put into place at Seal Team Six.

An avid sailor since his teens when Marshall traveled around-the-world, he was lucky to visit over fifteen countries during a two year sojourn. Fourteen months of his voyage was sailing on a 56-foot ketch. He remarks that he was privileged to circumnavigate the planet during his teens on a serendipitous journey that was the adventure of a lifetime.

During his Navy years, Marshall sailed at the Navy run Fiddler’s Cove Marina, on the Silver Strand. There, he taught many friends, from the ‘teams,’ how to sail on the Navy’s Catalina 27 sloops. In the late nineties, he purchased and sailed an Etchell’s for six years, and then discovered Challenged America three years ago. When a call went for companion sailors, Marshall answered the call. This will be his third VA Summer Sports Clinic.

At CA, Marshall learned how to rig the Martin’s and work with the disabled. He has sailed with the blind, deaf, amputees, individuals suffering from Parkinson’s, and spinal cord injuries. Marshall says that “the reward of seeing the grin on the face of a teenager (with a disability) after he’s conquered an afternoon of sailing on the bay is just reward for the effort.”

Marshall is not the only veteran at CA. Urban Miyares, the co-founder of CA, was a soldier in the Army. Lyle Lundberg, Doug Shaw, Mike Swall, Dave Hopkins, Gordo Parham, as well as supporters like “Rags” of the Maritime Institute volunteer at Challenged America, and Lynn Hanna of Sail USA 11 are examples of veterans who keep on giving. Over 50% of the volunteers at CA are veterans, as well as the majority of Challenged America participants. We live in a great country, exemplified by those that show their heart with their actions. Won’t you join us?

P.S. you can view Marshall’s new book, “From Boys 2 Men” on his website @ www.fromboys2men.com .

Recently injured veterans heal at Summer Sports Clinic

San Diego’s Challenged America therapeutic sailing program has a long history of healing veterans, both recently injured from combat and those acquiring a disability from other causes. And at this year’s 4th National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic, September 18 to 23, from San Diego’s Marriott Marquis Hotel & Marina, 130 recently injured veterans will experience the healing powers of the ocean as they sail with Challenged America in San Diego’s Big Bay.

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA’s) newest national program, the Summer Sports Clinic (SSC) promotes rehabilitation of body and spirit by teaching summer sporting activities to veterans with significant physical or psychological impairments. The Clinic offers such sports as sailing, surfing, kayaking, track and field and cycling to these veterans who are newly injured from amputation, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), blindness, spinal cord injuries or disease, and other neurological disorders, all benefiting from the therapeutic environment offered at the Clinic.

“When we first proposed a Summer Sports Clinic to the VA in 1996, those involved with VA sports therapy excitedly endorsed it. But I knew we then needed to convince those in Washington, DC, that it was a valuable asset, and complimented the already successful Winter Sports Clinic held each year in Colorado,” says Urban Miyares, blinded Vietnam veteran and co-founder of the Challenged America program. “It took years before Washington, DC, agreed. After all, Challenged America has been providing successful water-sports activities for therapeutic purposes to severely and catastrophically disabled veterans for more than 30 years , and today’s VA Summer Sports Clinic is but an extension of an already successful San Diego-based charitable program matching the VA’s goals.”

The week-long event, based from the Marriott Marquis, will attract more than 400 people, to include 130 recently injured veterans, their families, personnel and officials from the VA,, political figures and others from local and federal agencies, celebrities, sponsors, and volunteers, most coming from around the nation. All with be participating in or watching the many sporting venues, such as sailing on San Diego’s Big Bay in Challenged America’s fleet of two-person, 16-foot (adaptive) sailboats, and aboard Sail USA-11’s America’s Cup yacht; kayaking on Mission Bay; surfing at La Jolla Shores; cycling and rock climbing (wall) on Coronado; and experience track and field at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista.

“It’s going to be a busy week of introducing these veterans and their loved ones to sporting activities they should be able to participate in, when they return home. After all, sports is a tremendous rehabilitative activity that has proven to be key to heal one’s body and mind. Challenged America was started in 1978 by disabled veterans as a self-directed therapeutic program. And today, most of Challenged America’s participants and volunteers are veterans, many having combat-experience and disabilities. The VA’s Summer Sports Clinic and Challenged America is a prime example of ‘veterans helping and healing with fellow veterans’,” says Miyares.

Founded in 1978 by San Diego disabled veterans, Challenged America is a year-round, therapeutic (adaptive) sailing program for disabled veterans, youth and adults with disabilities, based at Shelter Island, San Diego. Hundreds from around the nation and the world sail with the volunteer-driven, charitable, program.

For additional information, contact

Urban Miyares, Challenged America
2240 Shelter Island Drive, Suite 108
San Diego, CA 92106
phone 619-523-9318
email Port@ChallengedAmerica.org
or visit ChallengedAmerica.org.

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