Four members of Paralyzed Veterans of America’s Mid-Atlantic Chapter were treated to a free vacation weekend in Kitty Hawk, N.C., May 22-24, 2014, courtesy of OBX Jetpak Adventures and Albemarle Tradewinds magazine.
Mid-Atlantic Chapter members Jeff East, Wesley Epps, Robert Satterwhite and Jeff Trice traveled to Kitty Hawk for Mobility May OBX, a new annual event that welcomes all with mobility issues to North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
Aside from accommodations in a wheelchair-accessible beach house provided by Carolina Designs Realty, the four veterans were treated to Jetpaking with Butch Stone of OBXJetpack and charter fishing with Captain Chuck Parker of the Bluefin. The four veterans received free tackle packages including rods and reels courtesy of The Fishing Hole and Frank and Fran’s.
“The trip was very relaxing,” Satterwhite said. “I needed the break because I’m always on the go, and it seems like I never have enough time for myself. This trip wasn’t about me competing in something. It was all about relaxation, and I needed that for myself.”
Rebecca Wilson, a writer for Albemarle Tradewinds, created the annual Mobility May event to bring awareness to mobility issues. Wilson’s boyfriend is a paraplegic non-veteran whose parents both served in the military.
The goal for future Mobility May events is to open the event up to Paralyzed Veterans of America chapters and others with disabilities across the country. “We want to make it bigger and better every year and make sure everybody gets an opportunity,” Wilson said.
Jennifer Purser, administrative director of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter, who worked with Wilson to coordinate the event, said this year’s event already has generated interest from other members who may have never realized the range of adaptive sports and activities available to them.
“I think the best thing about this trip is it not only allowed our members who participated to do something different, but it also opened the eyes of other members who have never done something like that,” Purser said. “It encourages a lot of our other members to get out, be active and do something different.”
Satterwhite, who already is an active participant in Paralyzed Veterans’ sports programs and the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, says that while all of the sports introduced throughout the weekend were new to him, he can’t wait to get out and try them again.
“I’ll admit that the first time I did the Jetpak, I wasn’t very good at it, but as time progressed, I got better,” he said. “The next time I get to do it, I’ll be much better at it.”
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Brittany Ballenstedt is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in several publications, including Government Executive, National Journal, Technology Daily and NextGov.com.