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Jet Skiing Vets

Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News November 2013

Veterans help raise money for fellow vets.

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Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) members were part of six teams of veterans who completed a 1,600-mile trek on jet skis to New York City Sept. 11, to help raise money for fellow vets and their families.

The adventure was part of the Never Quit Challenge, which benefited three veteran-oriented charities.

One of the teams taking part in the ride was Team Xtreme Abilities, which included three Army veterans and the PVA members. The team leader was Jeff Glasser, owner of xtremeabilities.com. He was joined by Roberto Cruz and Anthony Radetic.

Departing from Key West, Fla., Sept. 6, Team Xtreme Abilities took turns operating a Kawasaki Ultra LX jet ski roughly 266 miles per day and arrived in Battery Park in New York City on the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“Our team alone had two paraplegics and one partial paralysis, and we’re just trying to get the word out that our injuries won’t hold us back and that we can keep up with the best and adapt and overcome,” Glasser says. “We are just raising awareness and showing our patriotism.”

Each of the six teams took turns carrying the flag of Navy SEAL Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Patrick D. Feeks, who, along with seven other Americans, was killed when his helicopter crashed while fighting insurgents in southern Afghanistan in August 2012.

The trek included fund-raising events in Key West, Virginia Beach, Va., Atlantic City, N.J. and New York City. The events benefited three charities: the Phoenix Patriot Foundation, a group that provides support to severely wounded veterans; the Boot Campaign, a grassroots initiative that promotes awareness and raises funds for military programs; and the Station Foundation, an organization that provides resources to members of the special operations community and their families.

The money raised at the four fundraising events will be distributed evenly among each of the three charities.

While the trip included a couple patches of rough water that slowed the riders down, both able-bodied and disabled riders kept a steady pace of around 35 mph, Glasser says.

“Being paralyzed, it’s difficult to keep your balance because you’re going over the waves and getting tossed around,” Glasser says. “But for us, we adapt and overcome. We just used all of the strength we had in our upper body to keep ourselves moving and keep pace with the able-bodied riders.”

Contributor: Brittany Ballenstedt.

 

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