Letter: A vital service for veterans

I fell in love with the Aspen area and the sport of skiing when my dad opened the mines in 1948. I graduated as a civil engineer at the University of Colorado and accepted a commission in the regularly Army — over 20 years of service, two tours of Vietnam, retired in 1984. I treasure my experience in serving with the greatest soldiers on the planet, and I’m delighted to see how our vets are treated now.

In mid-April, I was honored to attend an Aspen Mountain ski adventure provided to a group of vets by Challenge Aspen Military Opportunities. In February, I attended a Challenge Aspen ski adventure in Snowmass. I cannot adequately express how much I enjoyed the two events. The gifted and professional pros of Challenge Aspen were truly inspirational for me personally, but my greatest joy was to be able to observe the therapeutic and miraculous effects that it had with the wounded warriors. I was astounded by the magic that was wrought by the Challenge Aspen team, which resulted in inspiration, enthusiasm, happiness, camaraderie, achievement and pride, all of which were reflected in growth of self-confidence, self-reliance and self-esteem.

In both of my experiences with Challenge Aspen, I have been astounded at how effectively the pros in the organization promoted strong relationships with the vets that they guided, encouraged and taught so well. They are an absolute pleasure to be with!

I also must say that the organization and execution of these events are incredible — the manager of the program, who coordinates all aspects of the activity, is a dynamo. Challenge Aspen has enriched my life.

I know that every vet who is blessed by the Challenge Aspen efforts is most thankful to all who make this program happen (the Challenge Aspen team, volunteers, Aspen Skiing Co. and donors who are very gracious in their support). This program is vitally important and extremely valuable — it saves lives!

The upper Roaring Fork Valley community can be very proud of this program.

Frank Anderson