RAF veteran Roger Mountjoy and his wife have holidayed in Breckenridge, Colorado every winter for the last 20 years. On the last day of their skiing holiday in 2016 they happened to meet the NFA’s group also returning home after a week’s skiing.
Despite a full 30 year career in Royal Air Force, Roger had never heard of the charity, but he soon got in touch to see if his knowledge of Breckenridge’s skiing trails could be of help to the NFA in future.
We have just taken two groups of injured veterans to Breckenridge, each for one week. Roger describes his experience of the resort and his time with our groups:
“The guaranteed snowfall, disciplined speed regulations and 2,350 acres of terrain covering 155 trails help to make Breckenridge the ideal destination for skiers of all abilities, particularly for beginners and those who lack confidence. Plus, for those with a disability, the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Centre (BOEC) runs a hugely successful adaptive ski programme.
On returning to Breckenridge this year I contacted the BOEC and undertook a three day assessment and induction to the programme. I intended to give up half of each day to assist the NFA. After my own RAF career it was time to give back. My half day commitment most days resulted in a full day of both fun and the seriousness of giving the guys some respite from their injuries, physical and/or psychological.
Breckenridge is a long way to travel, however the resort caters for all manner of disability and works closely with US veterans associations. Sport and physical activity enhances wellbeing in veterans, reduces PSTD symptoms and gives back confidence. The psychological impact includes determination and inner strength, focus on ability and broadening of horizons, a sense of achievement and social health – all of which the veterans achieved in the week I had the privilege to be with them. You cannot put a price on that compared with the price they have paid.
Participating in the activities that Breckenridge provides does motivate individuals and gives the veterans back their confidence and self-respect. I certainly will be volunteering again next year to help the NFA.”