Press Releases

Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra Announces Leadership Evolution

Copeland will focus on veterans’ initiatives as Beardsley takes helm of local organization
Two women wearing masks celebrate with flutes. The woman on the right is giving a thumbs up sign

Laura and Kathy celebrate their leadership evolution for DSES

Mammoth Lakes, CA – October 6, 2020 – The Board of Directors of Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra (DSES) is proud to announce key leadership changes within the organization. This fall, Laura Beardsley will step into the role of Executive Director following several years with DSES. Kathy Copeland will assume the position of Founding Director, focusing on the campaign to build the National Wounded Warrior Center (NWWC) and programs serving wounded warriors and veterans with disabilities.

Beardsley has served as the organization’s Deputy Director for nearly four years, after originally becoming involved as a volunteer in 2012 when she moved to the Eastern Sierra. She brings more than twenty years’ experience in nonprofit fundraising, program development, leadership, and administration to her new position.

After serving as Executive Director for 17 years, Copeland is happy and grateful to be handing over the reins of the organization she founded in 2001. “It’s time to acknowledge the strength, passion, and commitment that Laura brings to DSES” says Copeland. “I’m extremely proud and thrilled for her to be guiding DSES into the future.”

“I love DSES and our work to support adaptive athletes at Mammoth Mountain and throughout the region. I’m honored to have the opportunity to build on Kathy’s vision and support our incredible community in this way.” Beardsley said.

As Founding Director, Copeland will remain an integral part of DSES focusing her work on initiatives to support military athletes and veterans with disabilities including the National Wounded Warrior Center. With more than $11.7 million committed to the initiative to date, the capital campaign is nearly complete, and DSES expects to make Copeland’s vision a reality in the coming year. “Our military men and women make exceptional sacrifices, and many come home with unique challenges, both visible and invisible. DSES and the Eastern Sierra have an amazing opportunity to help these wounded warriors learn, heal, and thrive.”


Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra, is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization providing adaptive sports and outdoor recreation experiences for children and adults with cognitive and physical disabilities. Based in Mammoth Lakes, CA, DSES strives to create exciting challenges, provide expert instruction, and rally the community to comfortably accommodate people with disabilities. 

In 2007, DSES launched its first wounded warrior programs designed specifically for veterans and servicemembers with disabilities. With the launch of their National Wounded Warrior Center initiative, they hope to help countless others learn, heal, and thrive. To learn more about Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra, visit

Media contact: Laura Beardsley, Executive Director, Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra,, 760.934.0791

­­National Wounded Warrior Center Searching for New Home

Athlete riding a recumbent handcycle flexes both arms in celebration of strength

David and Juice cycling during DSES’s Operation High Altitude. (Photo: DSES Collection)

Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra committed to providing facility to support veterans with disabilities

Mammoth Lakes, California – September 9, 2020 – Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra (DSES) has announced that it will find a new location for its planned National Wounded Warrior Center. With contributions and commitments of $11.7 million, DSES has made tremendous progress in securing support to create a National Wounded Warrior Center in Mammoth Lakes. The new facility will offer veterans with disabilities the resources and knowledge they need to return to civilian life with confidence, hope, and skills to find successful employment and build strong families. While the project, originally planned for construction on Mammoth Lakes Foundation land near Cerro Coso Community College, finds itself in search of a new location, DSES embraces the change of plans as an opportunity to enhance its vision for the Center.

“Of course we are disappointed by the news that the MLF land is no longer available to us,” says DSES Executive Director Kathy Copeland, “especially as this sort of facility and expanded programming is needed now more than ever. We are reaching out to our generous donors and partners to inform them of this change, and our largest donor has recommitted their support and encouragement to create the Center. This is an opportunity to align the facility and programs with another location to help our heroes thrive.”

In a decision announced last Friday, the Mammoth Lakes Foundation applauded the outstanding programming offered by DSES and praised the “honorable merit” of the proposed National Wounded Warrior Center, but ultimately determined they would not provide the land for the project.

DSES appreciates the support of its donors and the Mammoth Lakes community for the proposed facility and stresses that addressing the needs of wounded warriors and veterans with disabilities has been, and remains, a top priority for the organization. Over time, veterans’ needs have shifted, requiring more programs to help overcome conditions such as PTS and depression. Prior to Covid-19, DSES planned to expand its current military sports programs by offering new one-week programs that were slated to begin this fall. The organization now hopes to be able to start the new programs early next year and will continue spearheading plans for the National Wounded Warrior Center.

“Internally, we are assessing opportunities to enhance the vision of the National Wounded Warrior Center in a new location,” says Copeland. “We welcome community input and ideas as we forge ahead.”

Media contact: Laura Beardsley, Deputy Director, Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra,, 760.934.0791