Rockaway To Host Wounded Warriors Event
Riding on the success of last winter’s Wounded Warriors event at a Catskills ski resort, the Graybeards are working to bring about 20 Wounded Warriors to Rockaway for daytime activities in Jamaica Bay and nighttime fun in Belle Harbor and New York Harbor, according to Flip Mullen.
Representatives for the Wounded Warrior Project and Disabled Sports USA saw “tremendous support” at the skiing event and asked Mullen if he had access to a lake or river, Mullen said. He offered them Jamaica Bay – specifically, a spot just east of the Breezy Point Yacht Club.
Mullen said the goal is to continue to raise awareness for the men and women who risked their lives and suffered severe injuries “defending our way of life.”
“No matter what side of the war issue you’re on, it’s our duty to take care of these people,” he added.
This time, a dozen volunteers affiliated with the Windham Mountain Adaptive Sports Program, many of them Rockaway residents, and about 25 New York City Fire Department volunteers will undergo an intense 48-hour course, taught by an instructor who is an amputee. They will learn how to handle the Warriors in the water and teach them how to water-ski.
The Wounded Warriors are slated to arrive from the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington on Wednesday, July 6, the day before the event kicks off.
Host families – willing to open their homes to a Wounded Warrior and his or her guest – are needed, as are volunteers with MasterCraft and Correct Craft boats, which have a propulsion/prop design deemed safer for water skiing. Donations are also needed to cover the estimated cost per soldier, which is $1,000.
For more information or to volunteer, contact Mary Ellen Olsen at (718) 634-6812. Donations in the form of a check made payable to Graybeards c/o The Wounded Warrior Project, may be mailed to the Graybeards, LTD, 436 Beach 129 Street, Belle Harbor, New York 11694.