Operation Mountain Freedom 2018: Wounded Warriors Excel at Winter Sports

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Laura Beardsley, Deputy Director

PHONE: 760.934.0791 EMAIL: lbeardsley@disabledsportseasternsierra.org

Operation Mountain Freedom 2018: Wounded Warriors Excel at Winter Sports

Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra welcomes old and new friends to 12th annual camp for military athletes.

MAMMOTH LAKES, CALIFORNIA – Tuesday, January 30, 2018.  After a powerful week of sun and snow, the entire Mammoth Lakes community celebrates a successful Wounded Warrior Operation Mountain Freedom. Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra (DSES), in partnership with Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, hosted Operation Mountain Freedom 2018. Wounded Warriors and their guests came to Mammoth from across the country to face challenges and fears while alpine skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing. In its 12th year, Operation Mountain Freedom brought together more athletes and guests than ever, and every participant – including volunteer and staff – experienced thrills, connected with each other, and made memories. At the end of the week, nearly all participants asked how they can come back to experience more.

Participants experienced many “firsts” throughout the week, such as the first-time snowboarding, first time in snow, first time making beautifully executed turns down a black diamond run, first time seeing a spouse this happy in a long time, and first time feeling at ease since their injuries.

Some of the toughest tests for participants recovering from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) were the social challenges. For example, Eilis, acknowledged gasps of shock as she stood up to speak at the farewell dinner, saying she could not look anyone in the eye on day one, but proudly stood in front of the group to express her joy and gratitude by day four.  Maggie Palchak, Program Director, said, “I heard so many staff and volunteer instructors sharing tales of the skills and progress made by their athletes. As the week progressed, the smiles grew bigger and the hugs grew warmer and stronger.” Sarah, also a Wounded Warrior, was moved to tears by her Wounded Warrior husband’s healing experience saying, “I have not seen him this joyful in a very long time.”

In a message to participants at the close of the program, Palchak highlighted how the program inspires everyone involved. “I want to acknowledge all the Wounded Warriors and guests who made the journey to our mountain and trusted us to challenge you in so many ways. Thank you, also for sharing your stories with us,” she wrote. “You fill us with hope and joy. Thank you, as well, to all the amazing volunteers who gave your time, skill, and energy, sharing your passion for the mountains and snow sports with our Wounded Warriors.”

DSES Executive Director Kathy Copeland said, “We see the change in these men and women and want to provide more lifesaving opportunities for them. It’s because of our community and specifically the shared mission to make the Wounded Warriors’ lives better that this is possible.” The Board of Directors and staff of Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra want to thank all volunteers and event sponsors who put so much into making Operation Mountain Freedom possible: Disabled Sports USA, US Department of Veterans Affairs Adaptive Sports Grants, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Steve and Dana Garcia, the staff of Alaska Airlines and TSA at Mammoth-Yosemite Airport, Simone Ardoin and Scottie Marzonie of Mammoth Taxi, The Westin Monache Owners and the The Westin Monache Resort, Eastern Sierra Transit Authority, Mammoth Lakes Fire Department, Amy Ambellan, Kathy Moon, General TS Jones (ret.), Ed and Kathy Curry, Sergeant Major Julio and Maggie Meza, Ed and Kathy Hurley and Burgers Restaurant, Canine Companions for Independence, Miles Weaver, Mark Brownlie, Col Jason “Woody” Woodworth, Good Life Café, Sue Ebersold, Ken and Jen Roberts, John Snelson, Willy Buhl, and Cindy Stern.

Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra

Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra is a nationally recognized adaptive sports program that offers year-round instruction for children and adults with cognitive and physical disabilities. Based in and around beautiful Mammoth Lakes, CA, we create inspiring challenges, provide expert instruction, and rally the community to comfortably accommodate people with disabilities. Since 2007, DSES has developed lessons and programs specifically for military athletes. We are currently working on an initiative to build a comprehensive National Wounded Warrior Center to support military athletes in Mammoth Lakes throughout the year. Visit us at: www.disabledsportseasternsierra.org. For more information on the National Wounded Warrior Center, visit: www.woundedwarriorsmammoth.org.

Operation Mountain Freedom brings Wounded Warriors to Mammoth Mountain Ski Area January 22nd to 26th, 2018

MEDIA ADVISORY

Contact: Laura Beardsley, lbeardsley@disabledsportseasternsierra.org, 760.934.0791

Operation Mountain Freedom brings Wounded Warriors to Mammoth Mountain Ski Area

January 22nd to 26th, 2018

Wounded, injured, and ill service members and veterans from across the country will participate in adaptive skiing, snowboarding, and community programs.

Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra, in partnership with Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, will welcome 58 participants to Mammoth Lakes, including recovering active duty and retired service members and their companions. Athletes ranging from 21 to 88 years old will alpine ski, snowboard, and Nordic ski over the course of four days at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area and Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center. Private adaptive ski and snowboard lessons for all athletes, taught by dedicated staff and volunteer instructors, will be complimented by fun, group activities like tubing and community meals with guest speakers.

“This particular blend of active duty and veteran athletes offers an incredible opportunity for mentoring – both in regards to life in their new bodies and reintegration into the civilian world,” says Maggie Palchak, Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra’s Programs Director.

Operation Mountain Freedom helps athletes move forward into healing by challenging them through outdoor recreation with family and friends and through shared experiences with other military athletes in the pristine Eastern Sierra.

On Thursday, January 25, the entire Mammoth Mountain community is invited to come together to recognize all participating athletes with a ceremonial Arch of Honor (9:00am at the Gondola Building at Main Lodge). Then at 12:00pm, a private luncheon dedicated to participating service members and their families will be hosted by Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. The luncheon’s guest speakers include Brigadier General Kevin Killea, of Camp Pendleton, and Mammoth Resorts COO Mark Brownlie, who will acknowledge the sacrifice and devotion to duty our Wounded Warriors made to protect our nation and our freedom.

During their time in Mammoth, Wounded Warriors stay at the Westin Monache Resort and are graciously welcomed by many Mammoth Lakes businesses and community members. The Mammoth Lake Fire Department will host a welcome dinner for the athletes and their companions emphasizing the bond between first responders and the various branches of the military. Other dinner programs include an introduction to Canine Companions for Independence at Burgers Restaurant; a quiet, reflective evening with local families; and a farewell for athletes to share their experiences throughout the week hosted by the Good Life Café.

For a complete schedule of events and more information about Operation Mountain Freedom, a camp for Wounded Warriors, please contact Laura Beardsley at 760.934.0791 or email lbeardsley@disabledsporteasternsierra.org.

Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra

Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra is a nationally recognized adaptive sports program that offers year-round instruction for children and adults with cognitive and physical disabilities. Based in and around beautiful Mammoth Lakes, CA, we create inspiring challenges, provide expert instruction, and rally the community to comfortably accommodate people with disabilities. Since 2007, DSES has developed lessons and programs specifically for military athletes. We are currently working on an initiative to build a comprehensive National Wounded Warrior Center to support military athletes in Mammoth Lakes throughout the year. Visit us at: www.disabledsportseasternsierra.org

Volunteers and staff of Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra cycle the Glass Mountains to grow scholarship fund

Ride organizer Maggie Palchak with her husband Jim Lewey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Contact: DSES Office at 760.934.0791

Volunteers and staff of Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra cycle the Glass Mountains to grow scholarship fund

Wounded Warrior Ryan Sykes hand cycling on the left, with support rider Ricky D

Mammoth Lakes, California – (July 27, 2016) This past weekend, 19 hardy souls braved the heat and wind to ride 165 miles and climb over 10,000 feet to raise money to support Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra (DSES)!  Riders of the Sierra Cycle Challenge raised over $70K to help build the DSES scholarship fund. Over 40% of our lessons receive some form of scholarship and we are proud to be able to say that we never turn away an athlete for reasons of financial need.  DSES brings the thrill and exhilaration of outdoors sports to athletes of any age and with any disability.  We serve children and adults, wounded warriors and civilians.  We offer lessons in alpine skiing, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, snowboarding and biathlon in the winter; cycling, paddling, climbing, and more in the summer! 

Sierra Cycle Rider Jill Hodges, who is an amputee, poses at Silver Lake Resort, a sponsor

This year our Sierra Cycle Challenge riders included DSES staff members and volunteers, athletes with disabilities (including former DSES students) and a wounded warrior, veteran of the US Navy.  Fundraising riders were supported by an incredible crew of volunteers on bikes, in vehicles and on the ground, and five incredible massage

therapists, Michelle Mather, Sarah Asa, Kristin Shelburg, Melissa Soltero and Keisha Curtis, donated their amazing healing hands to rejuvenate the riders after they climbed from Chalfant to Lee Vining on Sunday.  

 

DSES gives a heartfelt thanks to all of the fundraisers and volunteers who helped to make this event such a great success.  We also want to thank our incredible sponsors including:  Footloose Sports, Mammoth Chevron, Ed Hurley & Berger’s Burgers, Doug & Debbie Lindfors, Brent Truax and the Sierra Nevada Resort, VONS, CLIF Bar, Mono Vista RV Park, Z Pizza and Giovanni’s.

 

Remember, it is not too late to support this amazing event and this amazing organization!  You can donate at www.crowdrise.com/SierraCycleChallenge2016.  For more information

about DSES you can visit our website at www.disabledsportseasternsierra.org

 

 

Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra receives $6,400 Grant from Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation for Adaptive Sports Program

dses_logo_horiz.jpgFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 6, 2016

Contact: DSES Office at 760.934.0791

Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra receives $6,400 Grant from Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation for Adaptive Sports Program

Mammoth Lakes, California – (May 6, 2016) – Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra (DSES) is proud to announce that we have received a $6,400 Quality of Life grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. The award was one of 107 grants totaling over $735,482 awarded by the Reeve Foundation to nonprofit organizations nationwide that provide more opportunities, access, and daily quality of life for individuals living with paralysis, their families, and caregivers. Conceived by the late Dana Reeve, the program has awarded over 2,600 grants totaling over $19 million since 1999. 

This Quality of Life grant has been awarded to DSES to support increased accessibility for our summer sport program participants. DSES will use this money to purchase an accessible paddle board.  While most people are familiar with stand up paddle boards, they may not know that there is an opportunity for sitting athletes to enjoy this sport as well.  This board will be accessible to athletes using wheelchairs in their daily life.  The grant will also allow us to purchase adjustable seating for paddle sports which will make all paddle sports more accessible to athletes with mobility issues.

DSES is extremely honored to have received this grant from the Reeve Foundation. It is a huge achievement to be recognized by the Foundation and it will be a monumental bonus for our summer program, enabling even more athletes the ability to independently and safely recreate on the water! The equipment we purchase will be used at summer camps like Pedal~Paddle and the Wounded Warrior Operation High Altitude. We are extremely appreciative of the Reeve Foundation for their generosity and support of our program.

“The Reeve Foundation is committed to supporting programs and resources that foster independent living, improved health and community engagement,” said Donna Valente, Director, Quality of Life Grants, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. “The recognized grantees are instrumental to our work at the Reeve Foundation as we strive to serve the disability community with a roadmap of resources and programs to enhance their quality of life.”

Awarded twice yearly, grant requests were evaluated and scored based on a rigorous review process to determine funding for organizations that improve daily life for those living with paralysis, as well as their families and caregivers. This cycle, the Reeve Foundation strategically focused on projects that address the needs of people with paralysis living in underserved areas, designated as groups or county or civil divisions in which residents have a shortage of personal health services or face economic, cultural or linguistic barriers to healthcare.

Reeve Grant diamond-web - Copy - CopyThe Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Quality of Life Grants Program was created to address the myriad needs of children and adults living with paralysis, as well as provide assistance and education to their families and caregivers. Funded programs serve individuals living with paralysis caused by injuries, diseases or birth conditions, including but not limited to, stroke, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The grants support innovative initiatives that aim to increase quality of life by improving physical and emotional health, broadening community engagement, and increasing independence. Quality of Life grants are funded through a cooperative agreement with the Administration for Community Living (cooperative agreement number 90PR3001-01-00).

About the Reeve Foundation

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy. We meet all 20 of the Better Business Bureau’s standards for charity accountability and hold the BBB’s Charity Seal. The Paralysis Resource Center (PRC) is a program of the Reeve Foundation, and is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Administration for Community Living, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (cooperative agreement number 90PR3001-01-00). For more information, please visit our website at www.ChristopherReeve.org or call 800-539-7309.

About Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra

We believe the freedom and exhilaration of outdoor challenges changes lives. No one should be left behind simply because of a disability! For more information contact our office at 760.934.0791 or visit www.disabledsportsasternsierra.org

# # #

Contact

Maggie Palchak

Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra

mpalchak@disabledsportseasternsierra.org

Rita Gentles

Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation

(973) 379-2690 ext. 7123

media@ChristopherReeve.org

Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra awarded grant from THE PATRIOTS INITIATIVE

TPI Accreditation Decal -- Rectangle (White)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 19, 2015

Contact: DSES Office at 760.934.0791

Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra awarded grant from THE PATRIOTS INITIATIVE

Matching Funds Grant awarded to support DSES Military Veterans Sports/Reintegration


Mammoth Lakes, Calif. – DSES is extremely pleased to announce that we have been awarded $15,000 from THE PATRIOTS INITIATIVE.  THE PATRIOTS INITIATIVE evaluates and selects organizations that are leaders in their field and has recognized DSES for our Military Veterans Sports/Reintegration and our Paralympic Sport Program.  THE PATRIOTS INITIATIVE recognizes only the best of the best in providing veterans services and we are proud to have made their list.

DSES is extremely proud to be recognized for our work and will commit the award to returning veterans who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and mentorship to younger and/or recently injured veterans.  Our goal is to cultivate a culture of mentorship and sharing successes with veterans who are newly learning to focus on their abilities rather than their disabilities.

This grant has been set up as a “matching” gift opportunity for donors who support TPI and DSES from now until December 31st, 2015.  We hope that this gives incentive and awareness to donors for this specific program. 

Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra is a volunteer-based nonprofit dedicated to changing the lives of children and adults with disabilities and their families by offering year-round outdoor sports and activities, creating inspiring challenges, providing expert instruction and adaptive equipment rallying the community to comfortably accommodate people with disabilities.  DSES has adaptive equipment to fulfill everyone’s winter and summer dreams: gliding down a snow-covered mountainside, cruising on a cycle or skimming over a placid lake.  Activities are customized to each individual; one-on-one or in a group.  Our goal is for everyone to be active year round! DSES makes the outdoors accessible and affordable!!

For more information on Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra and supporting military veteran sports and reintegration, contact our office at 760.934.0791 or visit www.disabledsportseasternsierra.org.  For information on THE PATRIOTS INITIATIVE and their program to support 21st Century Military Service Members and their families, call 858.756.7875 or visit www.thepatriotsinitiative.org.

Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra Announces New Board Members

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: (10/14/15)

dses_logo_horiz.jpg

IMG_0585

[New DSES Board members Dr. Stacey Adler and Penny Bordokas pictured here with

Shields Richardson (DSES Board Development Chair)

& Kathy Copeland (DSES, Executive Director)]

Mammoth Lakes, CA: Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra (DSES) has added two highly committed and experienced community leaders to its dedicated board of directors. “We are thrilled to welcome Penny Bordokas and Stacey Adler, their commitment to community, education and those with special needs will be a great asset to our organization” says Kathy Copeland, DSES Executive Director.

penny headshot

Penny Bordokas manages the finance and accounting activities at JMG Capital, LLC and Pacific Assets Management, LLC. Previously, she was a Performance Analyst for various money managers, Operations Manager at Dean Witter Reynolds and  an Intermarket Trading Coordinator at the Pacific Stock Exchange from 1987 to 1988. Penny and her husband George raised two children in Manhattan Beach, who are now in college.  Their son was on the Mammoth snowboard team throughout his teen years and this was how they discovered Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra. Penny’s passions have always been education and community. She served as an elected school board trustee along with many years of involvement with Manhattan Beach Education Foundation including chairing the Manhattan Beach Wine Auction.  As a Sandpiper, a South Bay philanthropic organization, Penny has involved herself in many community projects helping the underserved by sitting on the executive, scholarship and endowment boards.  She currently leads the Mayor’s Youth Council  program in Manhattan Beach.  Currently splitting her time between Manhattan Beach and Mammoth Lakes, Penny is excited to be a part of DSES and plans to eventually retire in Mammoth. Penny is excited to bring her skill set to the DSES board of directors.

Stacey

Dr. Stacey Adler, Mono County Superintendent of Schools, moved to Mammoth Lakes from San Diego in 2002 to become the principal of Mammoth Elementary School. An educator for over twenty years, Stacey had taught in all grade levels, including university. During graduate school in Illinois, Stacey was involved with the North Shore Special Recreation Association, working to build recreational and social skills in teenagers and young adults with special needs. This work sparked her passion for working with the special needs population. Stacey is an ex-officio Board member for the Mammoth Lakes Foundation and a member of Lions’ Club. She is an avid runner and hiker. Stacey enjoys spending time with her husband, Joe, and their three children.

 

Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra is a volunteer-based nonprofit dedicated to changing the lives of children and adults with disabilities and their families by offering year-round outdoor sports and activities, creating inspiring challenges, providing expert instruction and adaptive equipment rallying the community to comfortably accommodate people with disabilities. DSES has adaptive equipment to fulfill everyone’s winter and summer dreams: gliding down a snow-covered mountainside, cruising on a cycle or skimming over a placid lake. Activities are customized to each individual; one-on-one or in a group. Our goal is for everyone to be active year round! DSES makes the outdoors accessible and affordable!!

To learn more or make a donation please visit:

http://disabledsportseasternsierra.org/

For more information please contact:

Suzanne Baracchini Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra

858.395.7344

suzanne@disabledsportseasternsierra.org

16th annual event benefits Mammoth Lakes Foundation AND Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 14, 2015

Contact: Aleksandra Gajewski at (760) 934-3781 or aleks@mammothlakesfoundation.org 

2015 golfers on par with two local nonprofits

16th annual event benefits Mammoth Lakes Foundation AND Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra

Mammoth Lakes, Calif. – Thanks to the generosity of players, sponsors, and donors, the 16th annual Golf Classic on Sept. 13 was a hole-in-one for higher education, the arts, and wounded warriors. The Mammoth Lakes Foundation teamed up with Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra this year, and proceeds from the event will go toward scholarships, theatre programming, and DSES’s National Wounded Warrior Center program.

The field of 120 players at the event, sponsored by Dave & Roma McCoy, enjoyed 18 holes of golf, great food sponsored by Abby and Jack Smith (breakfast) and Industrial Metal Supply/Neil Sherman (lunch), delicious beverages sponsored by American Landscape & Maintenance Inc., a silent auction, and the opportunity to win many prizes.

Working with the two nonprofits, Dave Schacht of Sierra Star Golf Course coordinated all the course activity, including a “Beat the Pro” contest on Hole 2 and the Putting Contest. 

Landing 2’3” away from the hole in a 40’ putt, Taylor Eastman won the Putting Contest sponsored by Karilyn and Gary Myers. Eastman won a $500 gift certificate to Sierra Star Golf Course.

John Eastman won the Grand Raffle Prize—four VIP passes to the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival, June 1-5, 2016.

Guy Bayless took home a 6-liter bottle of 1984 Eberle Cabernet Sauvignon as the Superticket winner, donated by Evan and Kathie Russell. Supertickets were limited to golfers only with a limit of one per player.

The winning low score team for the third year in a row included Ian Birrell, Guy Bien, Christian Newman, and Craig Copeland; the “Blind Bogey” winning team consisted of John Eastman, Taylor Eastman, William Bauman, and Brandon Toups; and the dubious honors for high score team was won by Kathy Copeland, Jack Copeland, Brent Truax, and Rich Boccia.

There were also “Closest to the Pin” contests an all four Par 3s that were won by Tom Johnson on Hole 2 (who got a hole-in-one!); Tani Tatum on Hole 7; Jack Lunch on Hole 14; and Doug Ross on Hole 18.   

The list of supporters was impressive, attested to by the number of Hole and Tee Sponsor signs planted throughout the 18-hole course.

Hole Sponsors included Al and Tracy Dykstra, Jack Lunch/The Sheet, Ormat, Judy and Michael Bornfeld, Charles Comfort, Suzanne and Bob Moon, KMMT/KRHV, and Eastman Homeowners.

Tee Sponsors included Cox Construction Co., Freeman Roofing, George Jenkins Painting, Cherne, Harrell & Parisky Medical Imaging, High Sierra Energy Foundation, Jerry Mokler, John Bush, Judy & Richard Markham, Mammoth Lakes Lions Club, Mammoth Lakes Sunrise Rotary, Mammoth Reservation Bureau, Napa of Mammoth, Neubauer-Jennison, Inc., Pam & Scott Taylor + Family, Sierra Paint & Dry Wall, Sierra Wave Media, Suzi Jackson & Blaine Braniff, Thai’d Up, Tim’s Snow Removal

In Kind Sponsors included Andrea Revy O’Connell/Mammoth Rock ‘n’ Bowl, Ashley Brussel/Pedego, Brian Balarsky & Dave Morrison/Convict Lake Resort, Carey Sigmen/The Mogul, Casey Lum, David Scheidt/Mastro Scheidt Winery, Chris Leonard/Kittredge Sports, Dennis Pope, Ed Hurley/Burgers Restaurant, Emma Martin/Wilson Creek Wines, Evan Russell, George Wever, Joannie Shaller/Roberto’s Café, John Morris/Snowcreek Resort, Julia & Joe Contaldi/Performance Anglers, Juliana Olinka, Julie D’Orio, Mike Coco/Thai’d Up, Kent Rianda/ The Trout Fly, Peachy Canyon Winery, Peggy Hankins, Ruth & Roger MacFarlane, Shelby Mueller/Austria Hof, Shira Dubrovner/Mammoth Lakes Film Festival, Dave Schacht/Sierra Star Golf Course, Steve Shibley/Bishop Country Club, Thomas Fallon/Seaglass Fine Art Photography, Wayne Smith

Proceeds from the Golf Classic went toward supporting student scholarships, increasing cultural programming for the community and DSES’s National Wounded Warrior Center program.

For information on the Mammoth Lakes Foundation and how you can help support higher education and cultural enrichment in the Eastern Sierra, call 760-934-3781 or visit www.mammothlakesfoundation.org.  For more information on Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra and its National Wounded Warrior Center program, call 760-934-0791 or visit www.disabledsportseasternsierra.org or www.woundedwarriormammoth.org.