Found this on the USAT email that goes out, so some of you may have seen it. However, if you haven't stopped to read it, I think it may be worth your time...for those of you looking for a "personal connection" to donate some money too...this might just be it...
By Jeff Trout
I joined the military in 1983, serving in the U.S. Air Force and later in the U.S. Army and Army Reserve until 2008. I originally got into Triathlon back in the '80s as a way to motivate myself to stay in the best shape I could while giving myself an outlet for my competitive nature. I feel I was pretty much like most soldiers - young, athletic and motivated. I've since become a USAT, USAC and USATF Certified Coach and I coach the University of California - Sacramento Triathlon Team.
In early 2009, I read an article in Men's Health Magazine. It featured soldiers that had been severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ted Wade, a Sergeant from the 82nd Airborne Division, who had lost an arm and suffered brain injuries made a statement that stuck with me "Sports is, well, integral to the life of most American boys and men, especially soldiers. People don't know what it's like to have that taken away from you. I meet so many veterans for whom losing the ability to run and jump...well, they feel as if they may as well not even be living."
I can only imagine what it would be like to be put in that position, where I as a young athletic man, couldn't do those things. I feel that it doesn't have to be that way. With the right equipment and coaching, we can give these men and women back the ability to run and jump, and maybe more importantly, compete! It is possible to give them back some physical and mental control over their situation. It's important to give these individuals back their sense of worth and give them some lofty goals to focus on and accomplish.
This led me to start the TriSoldier Project, although it also includes Airmen, Seamen and Marines. There are other organizations out there doing similar things, but I'm focusing on just this segment of society and just the sport of Triathlon and Duathlon. As a member of the USAT Duathlon Comittee, I want to make sure that everyone knows that Duathlon is a multisport, with a national and world championship. Some would even say is harder than Triathlon!
I started with the webpage and I've designed a desert camo bracelet with the TriSoldier Project logo and the American flag on it as a way to raise funds. I think I picked a bad economy to start a non-profit, but I'm going to stick with it. I'm donating my time and access to my TrainingPeaks account to disabled veterans who want to compete or just get in better shape. I have three goals for this effort:
•Secure the specialized equipment these athletes need - prosthetics, tandem, hand-bike, racing chair, etc. A disabled triathlete is looking at an equipment bill that is much higher than your average triathlete.
•Encourage these athletes to become USAT certified coaches and mentors to other disabled athletes.
•Build a training and testing center near Auburn, Calif., to host camps and other events for disabled triathletes, that will be built with theiraccessibilityin mind.
The timeline for each of these goals is dependent on how successful I am at fund raising. The first one, the coaching, is easy; it's just a matter of providing my services, which I am committed to doing. The next goal would be to get athletes that show an interest, certified and setting up a network of mentor coaches. My experience is that I learned a lot more about the art of "coaching" from my time in the military than from any other source. I'm sure there are some disabled athletes out there that already have the foundation to be a great coach, they just need the sport specific knowledge. The training center is a long term goal that hopefully will complete the circle.
100% of the funds raised by the TriSoldier Project will go directly to coaching, equipment purchases and expenses for disabled veterans participating it the sport of triathlon.
If you are interesting in donating to the TriSoldier Project, check out http://www.trisoldier.org.
Coach Jeff Trout is a former Air Force Pararescue Specialist, Army Officer and Master Fitness Instructor, as well as a USAT, USAC and USATF certified coach. He is currently owner of Cadence Performance Lab and the head triathlon coach for California State University - Sacramento. You can e-mail him directly here: firstname.lastname@example.org