Phil Bocks Memorial Ability Challenge: One fast Friday at Alpine Meadows |

Phil Bocks Memorial Ability Challenge: One fast Friday at Alpine Meadows

Amy Edgett
Sierra Sun

Conditions were firm and fast at the Phil Bocks Memorial Ability Challenge, a race in honor of Truckee Marine Corps Sergeant Bocks, who was killed serving in Afghanistan 2007. Participants in the Wounded Warrior Ski/Snowboard week battled it out on the Kangaroo race course and lunched slopeside afterward.

and#8220;It was icy, fast and hard the first run,and#8221; said participant Robert Spotswood of San Francisco, who has been in the Disabled Sports program for two years.

The Wounded Warrior Ability Ski/Snowboard Camp was established Spring 2009 through a partnership between the Wounded Warrior Disabled Sports Project and Disabled Sports USA Far West and attempts to get recently disabled service members on the snow early in the rehabilitation process.

and#8220;Young warriors are really competitive,and#8221; noted Kirk Bauer, executive director of Disabled Sports USA, who lost a leg in Vietnam March 23, 1969. and#8220;This event really moves rehabilitation along.and#8221;

President of Disabled Sports USA Far West Douglas J. Pringle, who lost a leg in Vietnam in ’68, was Bauer’s first instructor. Both men received instruction through the first Disabled Sports chapter, founded by the World War II 10th Mountain Division in 1967 to offer support and rehabilitation to service members disabled during the Vietnam Conflict.

and#8220;We are reaching out in the same way the World War II vets reached out to us,and#8221; said Pringle. and#8220;This is a special group, near and dear to our hearts.and#8221;

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Bauer, a resident of Ellicot City, Md., feels he came full circle, having learned to ski after the loss of his leg at Alpine Meadows. A lot of sponsors get to interact with the Wounded Warriors and other disabled skiers. and#8220;When they get to know the faces, it’s amazing how it affects these people [sponsors],and#8221; said Bauer. and#8220;This is much a and#8216;friend’-raising as a fundraising.and#8221;

Snowboarder and Wounded Warrior Orlando Gill finds the event and#8220;a blast.and#8221;

and#8220;Doing it for the first time again, it’s freedom and#8212; being back on the mountain,and#8221; said Gill.

and#8220;There’s nothing better than Disabled Sports,and#8221; agreed Spotswood. and#8220;It’s easy to facilitate the process with them. Disabled Sports has the equipment and the experience, it’s unparalleled. The volunteers and the members are of all types of disabilities, who have faced similar challenges and provide expert advice.and#8221;

One more event for the weeklong wounded Warrior camp is the Disabled Sports Far West fundraiser, Saturday, March 20. The 17th Annual Ability Bash is known as one of Lake Tahoe’s premier fundraising events. This year’s celebration will offer guests an evening of gourmet cuisine, live music and a silent auction starting at 7 p.m. at the Alpine Meadows lodge. Individual tickets are $100; and V.I.P. tables for 10 can also be purchased, Call Disabled Sports today at 581-4161.